I’m referring to that tendency we all have to feel jealousy and envy - which can bring out the worst in us.
Although we commonly use the two words interchangeably, they describe different situations and feelings.
Jealousy relates to feeling hostile towards someone whom we see as a rival. We then scrutinise them and their motives, we feel anxious about them being around, and we want them out of the picture!
Envy is about feeling resentment towards someone’s achievements or possessions. We want them for ourselves – sometimes wishing to deprive the other person of them too.
Both of these stem from our own insecurities, and fears that we aren’t good enough as we are, as a friend or partner, or not good enough to be able to achieve and possess what we want in life.
Let’s also consider the other side of the coin. We’ve probably all seen, or even met, people who try to make others feel jealous or envious of them.
If so, ask yourself why someone might have the need to evoke jealousy or envy in others. The answer will be linked to their own life-story being retold in their behaviour.
Maybe they need to stir up people’s emotions so as to somehow feel ‘special’ or superior. You can decide to ignore and not play their game, and not to feed their fragile ego.
Instead, let’s make the green-eyed monster work in our favour – to motivate and inspire us to become more of who we have the potential to be.
Let’s become energised to nurture and improve our relationships; and to get what we want and need for ourselves, and to feel satisfied and grateful with what we have each step along the way.
When we focus more upon feeling OK with ourselves and who we are, and all of the things we’ve overcome and achieved just to get to this point; we shift our focus onto gratitude, acceptance and self-compassion... and that feels a whole lot better than jealousy and envy ever could!
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)
Maxine Harley has a masters degree in psychotherapy, has written two books, and created four new approaches to psychological, emotional and physical well-being. She lives happily in Chichester with her daughter and grandson.