Is there a difference between envy and jealousy?
Very few people know that there is a difference between feeling envious and being jealous. Most of us confuse the two as you might often hear someone say, “I am jealous of her success” or “I am jealous of his looks”. In both cases, the person is not feeling jealousy at all. Although envy and jealousy can feel similar, they are completely different. Envy refers to the feeling we get when we want something we do not have. This means that you are envious — not jealous — of your friend’s success, looks, love life, career, etc. Jealousy, on the other hand, is the feeling we get when something threatens to take away what we have.
We have all been taught that jealousy is bad — but what about envy?
When we feel jealous, we are usually afraid that we will lose someone important to us. This fear births feelings of betrayal and we become prone to destructive tendencies and aggression. It follows then, that jealousy can be extremely detrimental to you and those around you. For these reasons, this emotion has been condemned by people all around the world. But what about envy? According to Richard H. Smith Ph.D., “Envy, as unpleasant as it can be, usually doesn’t contain a sense of betrayal and resultant outrage.” What is more, you can use your envy to improve your life.
How can you use envy to your advantage?
Although envy can leave you feeling inferior and worthless, it is not a negative emotion. Taking this idea further, envy can teach you things you did not know about yourself and what you want in life. It shows you what you are unhappy with and what you need to change. Therefore, instead of judging yourself for feeling envious of someone’s life, ask yourself why you feel this way. If you were satisfied with your love life, your career, and/or your appearance, you would not want what someone else has. Feeling envious means that there is something that you need to change in your own life. In other words, envy actually has nothing to do with the person you feel envious of; it is all about you.
If you want to stop feeling envious, start working on yourself. Find out what you want to do in life and who you want to become. When you know what you want, you can begin to work on achieving your goals and living a life you feel satisfied with.