Did you know that jealousy and Envy don’t mean the same thing?
While Envy leans more on the negative side of emotions, jealousy might just be the emotions that tell you how important something is to you.
But then, both are just the emotions we feel when something feels to be beyond our grasps.
Most emotions considered as negative emotions, if understood, accepted and channelled in the right direction, can help us make the best decisions, and you know how life is, we are always making decisions.
So, lets understand this ‘green eyed monster’ to know how helpful it can be.
The difference between jealousy and Envy.
Jealousy is an emotion we feel when something of ours, that used to be ours, that was supposed to be ours, that we feel was supposed to be ours, and other ‘ourses’ is about to be snatched from us.
Sometimes not even by a real person, but by someone who we have made up in our mind to be a threat.
You know, it is the same thing you feel when an innocent girl you love, who came into this world on her own, jumps on that guy who has the chest-size of you and your brothers combined, all in the name of a hug.
We feel jealousy because something and most especially someone is important to us.
Most researchers say that it is an emotion that evolved as an early detection system that something is wrong with what you own (no wonder you notice when the way they used to kiss you feels different, or when…. Phew never mind.)
Some researchers also claim that jealousy evolved because men of old were tired of training the kids that were not theirs (we all know women are always up to something)
A book, “Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy is as Necessary as Love and Sex, explores the darker side of passion” claims that jealousy is important to strengthen relationships – if used wisely.
The writer even went further to say that women intentionally elicit jealousy which we all conversantly know as ‘drama’ to gain knowledge of the level of commitment of their partners – I guess I fucking have to deal with my girlfriend SBFFJFKD anytime she complains I wasn’t punctual to her dream.
If you want to hear about how men elicit jealousy, well, I kept that only for people on my e-mail list.
Ok, enough about jealousy. What about Envy?
Can Envy mean you are the a**hole?
Well, Yes, and No.
Envy is the emotion we often overlap with jealousy. This is because you can experience both jealousy and Envy at the same time.
Like the hug scenario I talked about – you can be jealous that the ‘love of your life’ is slipping right through your fingers (something you have), and at the same time, you are envious of the way she jumped to hug the guy because she has never hugged you like that (something you don’t have.)
You feel Envy even if she really can’t jump on you because you are just struggling to be taller than hostel bunks.
In essence, Envy is the feeling that exposes what you don’t have. You wish to have the euphoria of that hug; you wish that you were as tall as the guy she hugged, you wish your chest bore more testimonials.
And all the while, you forget that you have a better apartment, you’ve got a refined accent, or the fact that he has all those muscles without any money brains to show for it (it’s not totally true, just trying to make you feel better.)
All I am saying is, both jealousy and Envy in a way, can make you forget about the things that should matter to you. I will like to call this,
The Paradox of Jealousy and Envy.
While Envy can make us understand what we need and jealousy the things we really value, it can be, and most of the time, a mismanaged negative emotion.
“Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed”Bertrand Russell.
Look at all the scenarios where jealousy led people to take irrational actions.
It didn’t even matter if they were cumulatively better than the other person or if there were other reasons around them to make them feel better.
For Christians, you want to look at GOD himself who has the whole world saying in his book “for I am a Jealous God…” (I guess jealousy is justified)
You can also look at the story of Queen Jezebel in ancient Babylon who lost her life going after Naboth for a measly grapevine. Even though she had the whole kingdom under her beck and call.
When we are consumed by jealousy, we turn a blind eye to gratitude for everything that should have mattered to us.
We form an overprotective shield to our insecurities, but this shield seldom protects the strengths we should have noticed.
In a flash, you forget where you are coming from, what progress you have made so far, your hopes and dreams.
You fucking forget about how she cooks for you because of an innocent hug (hehehehe we both know it was not innocent but let’s play along)
But if being jealous of something means that it is important to you, and being envious means that something will matter to you if you had it; Like being the best student, being financially free, being able to afford a good home, being able to have money without graduating.
Then why do we all see this emotion as a plague that should be avoided?
What are the downsides of jealousy and Envy?
Jealousy is an emotion that can arouse;
- Fear of loss
- Suspicion or anger.
- The need to do more.
- Lack of trust
And also similar to Envy which arouses;
- Inferiority complex.
- Ill will for other people and depression from other people’s accomplishments.
- Both jealousy and Envy make us vulnerable to unhealthy options. We begin to seek answers where they don’t exist.
For example; you begin to see a boy you just met even though you don’t really like him. All because your friends are taken and ‘seem’ happy in relationships.
But in the end, we know how this story ends. You both use each other to hold a relationship title and get heartbroken. (tueh)
The list of what jealousy and Envy can do is long, but you should also add this;
- Chasing and mutilating people in your dreams – think it’s a lie? I know someone.
Jealousy; A cart full of wheels but with no wheels.
Jealousy arouses some self-critical thoughts that spur other negative thoughts, making us feel less of ourselves even if the parties involved have little control over what is happening.
It can even force you into inaction where you feel there is no need doing anything since another person has done it.
Like those moments where the question of making good grades like the nerd in your class makes you conclude that school is not for you.
Like the servant amongst three in a popular bible parable who was given 1 talent while the others were given 5 and 2 respectively.
He dug a hole and hid his talent because he felt the others were better and that his master hated him. But his other colleagues later doubled their talents each.
In all, jealousy and Envy shifts the sight of where we want to be to make us dwell on the problems of where we are.
This is the reason why you doubt if your brain still functional instead of actually doing what others do to pass their exams – studying.
Sometimes, unnecessary questions creep in. Like, “do I have a generational curse I need to break?”
We are moving on.
Why is Envy and jealousy important.
Jealousy makes you understand that you actually have something to lose. You get it, right? It means you really care about someone or a position.
Envy, on the other hand, makes you realize that something will be important to you.
It makes you realize that certain positions are beneficial. You feel the need to do more and the need to step-up.
The need to stop making excuses. The need to achieve what others have achieved.
They can both be affected by our social values. Yes, because we can’t and won’t give two buried fucks about something we don’t care about.
Just like you would never look the way of the guy who works at the gatepost if you were the general manager – well, unless, you know, he had blue eyes and straight jaws (these kinds of guys are never at the gate though).
Jealousy is important for growth.
Jealousy can expose your insecurities. It is a good thing because we are all insecure, but we can forget easily that the best way to deal with our insecurities is by taking the responsibility of accepting them.
Not acceptance in the sense that you begin to make cringe-worthy videos on the internet telling the world that you accept yourself for being out of shape – nah, not that.
I know of a fellow whose boyfriend moved on to find someone else. She called everyone on the block asking,
“am I not a spec?” she asked me,
“if you were asked to marry me, won’t you?” and you know, my sarcastic self said, “I’m not ready for marriage yet.”
Then she asked again, “if someone said they are looking for a wife. Won’t you recommend me?” And then I said, “it depends on the persons preferences.”
I knew the answer she wanted, but I just didn’t want to say it because I am by default, an annoying asshole. (I’m actually very lovable and cute.)
But then, she was really beautiful, curly bouncy hair and had a skin bright as that sunshine that breaks a stormy cloud… whatever.
But she may have had a problem with nagging and a rough attitude that needed to be changed, which is the point I am trying to make.
Accepting our insecurities means that you have something to work on, a problem to solve, a lifestyle to live, a goal to set, a marathon to run, a healthy diet to follow, a routine to follow, an attitude to check. Until you can deal with your many insecurities.
We are all insecure in one way or the other; about the smell of our fart, or the shape of our head, or about the skill we just started learning, or the size of our several appendages. Yes, appendages.
And whenever we feel insecure, especially through jealousy, we begin to over-compensate for where we lack.
We avoid anything that will talk about those insecurities like the girl who should have asked me “do I yell a lot” (the reason they broke up).
This is bad, especially when we have allowed our insecurities form a part of our identity.
Most times you can hear people say “it is who I am” but still envy people who are reaping results of a better character. Of course, all they see are the results, and not the changes they are supposed to make.
Dealing with insecurities makes us happier.
The truth is that, the only way to be happy is to have a problem to solve.
“Happiness is the space between one desire fulfilled and another desire forming.”Caed Budris.
But I did not say that being jealous of something means you automatically need to have such a thing.
But jealousy and Envy can help us discover our insecurities, the underlying problems we are supposed to face.
And most importantly, it can reveal to us, how best to go about achieving something – in our own way.
Most people suffer because they feel bad about how they feel in certain situations. But true progress comes from self-acceptance. From accepting how you feel and working in favor of it.
And true acceptance comes from understanding why and how you feel what you feel just before seeking a better way out.
Oopsie, It’s a lot of words already. But I plan to talk about “how to deal with jealousy” you know, how you can use this emotion to your favour. How you can be jealous and at the same time, not be a bag of entitlement.
- What are your thoughts about jealousy?
- Do you think it should be avoided?
- And what do you do when you are faced with them? You can tell me via e-mail or via the comments – I always reply.
If you enjoyed this read, it encourages me more if you could share with your friends or anyone who this might help.