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Jealousy and Envy

Updated on June 27, 2015

Jealousy and Envy

Jealousy is an emotion we all know, but many find difficult to define or put into words Although jealousy is commonly confused with envy, the two are different. While jealousy can be described as a fear someone may take something a person considers to be theirs', envy is desiring something someone else has.

Envy usually produces sadness whereas jealousy, more often than not, makes one angry and resentful. Most of us have experienced both at one time or another because they are quite normal emotions. It's when these feelings begin interfering with our daily lives problems arise.

An example of jealousy would be when another employee gets promoted instead of you and you feel you were much more qualified for the position. Self-esteem is at the root of both emotions. A person reacts with jealousy when their self-esteem is threatened by a potential loss of something or someone they hold dear, and envy when their self-worth is threatened by comparing their situation with others who seem to better off than they are.

Jealousy and envy are very strong emotions, and can be extremely difficult to handle. But by confronting these feelings you can use them to improve your circumstances, rather than letting them drag you down.

In simple cases of jealousy, most therapist agree it's not an entirely unhealthy emotion. It can indicate in intimate relationships one cares about their partner.However, jealousy can cause many problems when it occurs often displaying intense or irrational reactions. In such cases it can become a motive for aggression and even murder.


  • People become jealous for many reasons. Here are a few examples:

  • Lack of effective communication

  • Low self-esteem

  • Insecurity

  • Sibling rivalry

  • Romantic jealousy

We all know deep down jealousy isn’t good for our stress levels. It isn’t something we easily control. It is a natural, emotion everyone experiences. The problem is, it covers up other feelings that can harm us even more. Its intensity is often masking deep-seated feelings of insecurity or shame. We frequently direct anger inwards for being foolish.These feelings of humiliation can evoke emotions more unpleaeant than the threat itself.

Many are unaware of the basic inner shame existing within us because it's natural to be self-critical. However, this hidden shame can have an extreme effect on the way we view things in the present. In intimate relationships, they can bring up past thoughts there is something fundementally wrong with us. Thus, when these self inflicted thoughts attack us, often those closest to us suffer also.

When we begin having unrealistic thoughts about those around us it's important to examine our thoughts and consider how much is real and how much is a product of our own making. Are they based on real events or actions? Now, consider whether your reactions were overcompensating for the situation?

When we continue to listen these destructive thoughts we risk hurting those close to us. Not confronting these negative attacks can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies by pushing those we care about further away from us. We can act against the thoughts telling us to be suspicious, and accusatory.

Understanding and overcoming jealousy and envy can ultimately make us healthier, more well-rounded individuals.

Understanding Jealousy

Jealousy is a complex emotion encompassing

different feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to angerto humiliation. Jealousy can effect both sexes when they perceive threats to something or someone they consider important. Jealously usually does more harm than good to relationships, and can result in conflict or violence.

Overcoming Jealousy and Control in Relationships

Overcoming jealousy begins with awareness. Awareness allows you to understand what your subconcious is telling you isn't real. Once you understand this you no longer react to the falsehoods your mind conjures up. Jealousy and anger are merely reactions to believing things that are not true. Even when there is substantiating reasons for jealousy and anger, nevertheless they are not beneficial ways to deal with the situation.

Low self esteem is grounded in beliefs we have a mental image of who we are. In order to change just eliminate our belief of our false self image. It takes more effort to believe something than it does to not believe it.

Self Judgment can amplify the feeling of insecurity. It's not enough to know we are creating the emotion. For lasting change we need to develop skills to gain control of what our “inner child” is telling us.

One step to eliminating a behavior is to find out how we actually create anger or jealousy in our mind. In order to overcome emotions caused by false beliefs about ourselves we need to focus on our proven positive qualities.

It is the man’s action of acceptance and love that changes his emotional state. It is not the image, or the woman’s attention that change his emotion. These are only triggers that activate the man’s mind towards certain beliefs, self acceptance, and love.

The man’s mind often makes the false assumption that “she makes him happy” or that he “needs” her to be happy. It only appears this way because he is noticing the woman's relationship to his emotional state. Often the man doesn't realize that she is just an emotional trigger for his mind to express love. He may not have formed other triggers for expressing his own acceptance and love so he is dependent on a woman for a trigger. When the man recognizes that she is only a trigger and his role of expressing acceptance and love is what changes his emotional state, then the man doesn't "need" his partner in order to be happy.

Controlling Behaviour

Something we learn early is to control other people’s attention and behavior with anger. When someone was angry at us, it got our attention. So we learned to use anger to control other people’s attention. Learning new beliefs and destructive behaviors is done by mastering your point of view. Eliminating false beliefs does away the things that triggers your emotions.

Here are a few quotes about jealousy that provide further insight:

  • Cheryl Tiegs

Comparison is a very foolish attitude, because each person is unique and incomparable. Once this understanding settles in you, jealousy disappears.

  • William Hazlitt

Envy is for people who don't have the self-esteem to be jealous.

  • Charley Reese

It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.

  • Jennifer James

Jealousy is always born with love, but does not always die with it.

  • George Eliot

Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.

  • Fulton J. Sheen

Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties.

  • Van Wyck Brooks

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.

  • Conrad Veidt

My wife's jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was.

  • David Seabury

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy.

  • Osho

Passion can quickly slip to jealousy, or even hatred.


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