Have you ever been in a situation similar to this?
You: “Hey girl!!!! You will never believe what happened!”
Friend: “Hey! what’s up?”
You: “I got engaged!”
Friend: “Really? Don’t you think it’s a little too soon? Are you sure he is even the one…?”
This is by far one of the most evil emotions in my opinion and it is very destructive if you are not careful.
To get a little formal, jealousy and envy are actually not the same emotions.
I thought for the longest while they were, but they both have different meanings, while still being equally destructive.
Jealousy is often used in the context of relationships.
Like when your man has a new hot work assistant at his job that you are afraid will steal him and all of his attention.
It’s this feeling of possessiveness.
He is mine and mine only.
Envy, on the other hand, is the most common emotion that we all have experienced and one that we are more accustomed to in an age where social media forces us to compare ourselves to everyone else’s highlight reel and what we assume are their perfect lives.
I study envy a lot in myself and as an emotion in general because I think it is something that was stirred in us from childhood when we would compare ourselves to our peers and who we saw around us.
Like, who has the better grade? The better hair? Who is the most popular?
Although we are adults now and you would assume that we have gotten rid of this pettiness for good, it is something that we carry everywhere with us.
In the workplace when someone gets the promotion we want, in college when one of your girlfriends gets the attention of the guys and you don’t, when your best friend gets engaged before you, and so on and so forth.
But here is the thing with envy.
Even though it is totally a natural emotion that gets the best of us, it stems from low-self esteem and actually clouds our judgment from what we would normally deem as moral and acceptable.
For instance, you don’t want to be envious of your best friend, but suddenly something about her, or her life, sparks something in yourself to be insecure about and now your relationship with her is suffering as a result.
I was reading Emotional Intelligence by author Judith Orloff, and she perfectly breaks down envy, where it stems from and why we do it.
She states, “It’s difficult to admit, to ourselves or others, that we don’t want the best for others because of their attributes, assets, or accomplishments make us feel small…Nevertheless, to be free, we must do both.”
I have caught myself subconsciously being envious of someone and it was a direct result of how I was feeling about myself at the moment.
I mean think about it, if your life is in the dumps and is seemingly falling apart every minute, while others around you are getting engaged, graduating, going off to dream jobs, and taking lavish trips while you are struggling, it is likely being happy for them is going to be extremely difficult.
You want to, but your bitterness towards the state of your own life, what you want for yourself, and your lack of self-confidence is what is getting in the way of being happy for practically anyone, even your closest of friends and family.
I recommend Orloff’s book for anyone who wants to tap into envy or any other self-help books that discusses it because when we know why we are envious and can actually admit when we are displaying this emotion as well, then we can work on stopping it for good.
Envy gets in the way of friendships, co-existing at work, school, and literally any social interaction with others.
I know there is the saying that “There will always be someone better, prettier, or smarter than you…” But to me, this is just placing others on a pedestal and putting yourself down in the process.
To combat it, we have to work on our self-esteem and love who we are, by living in gratitude.
Self-love is the only way to escape envy and the faster we know this, the sooner we can stop it from controlling our lives.