J is for…
Odd topic when compared to all my previous posts, but J is not the easiest letter… Jam, jelly, jello, jump…
I think I’ll go with jealousy.
A lot of people use jealousy and envy interchangeably, however, I see them as related but different.
Jealousy is an emotion built around insecurities, fears, and anxieties, particularly fears tied to losing something or someone that you have an attachment to to someone else. Your fears about your lover leaving you for someone else is a prime example of jealousy. And frequently, jealousy is accompanied by anger and resentment, and sometimes even violence.
Envy is the resentment towards another person because of their achievements, activities, possessions, etc, that you don’t have but wish you did. They have the job, house, vacation, fame, money, whatever that you don’t have but desire. Envy can be malicious or negative (you do stupid destructive things to get what you want, including actually taking them away from the other person), or benign/positive (you see what another has and it motivates you to achieve it for yourself).
Or, more simply, jealousy is about wishing to keep what you already have, while envy is about wishing to get what you don’t have.
Personally, I don’t remember the last time I’ve felt strong jealously — perhaps in my teens. Perhaps a little here and there where my siblings are concerned, but that’s about it. I just don’t understand how one can feel so possessive of someone or something that they would behave in the typically jealous ways of anger, resentment, control, etc. But that’s just me.
However, envy… Envy I know. But the benign/positive kind, the envy that makes me aware of what others have, that I like what they have, and that if I want it then I’ll need to work for it. I never have the desire to take it away from them or to wish they didn’t have whatever it is, just that I could have my own.
So, jealous or envious? Which one are you? Or neither?