Have you ever wondered what the difference between envy and jealousy is? Have you personally envied someone or felt jealous about something?
In this post, we will be discussing how envy differs from jealousy without referring to a dictionary!
There is a very thin line between envy and jealousy that even makes people usually see them to be the same but they are obviously not. The easiest way to spot the difference between these words without following the definition from a dictionary is to use them in scenarios.
Assuming we (you and I) work in the same company, in the same office, and probably in the same rank and I hear you have been promoted to a much better or higher position than mine, I feel some way within me. That is envy! Now, note: I am not envious because you don’t deserve the new position, but rather because I see it as “unfair” for my colleague to be my new boss!
Likewise, you have a friend or partner of the opposite sex who you really love. One day, while you guys are walking together, your partner sees another person of their opposite sex and behaves in a way that shows some interest in this new person. Or perhaps, they even had time to hug each other so deep and talked so much that you didn’t feel okay within your skin. That is jealousy.
These scenarios above tell us that where as we envy people envy our co-equals for something new they have, we inversely are jealous for the fear of losing something or someone we admire.
Jealousy sprouts mostly in romantic arenas or in relationships while envy is a normal human nature among people who are in some sort of competition with each other (directly or indirectly). A veteran musician who loses and award to a new musician has every right to be envious; a football team losing the trophy to their opponent team can be envious; adult students in a class taught by a younger person may feel envious of this teacher. These are all forms of envy among people.
However, sometimes, people get envious of other people not because they won something or achieved success, but simply by virtue of the fact that they could be successful or better than them in the future.
Want to “see” the real difference between envy and jealousy, look at people’s reactions in an envious or jealous situation. If I envy you, I will barely show it right before your eyes. I will pretend all is well when we are together and even congratulate you and will only show my envy when I am alone or with “my friends”. However, a jealous husband doesn’t mind warning another man right before his wife to stay away from her. In fact, most jealous partners will show their “victims” that they are jealous; and when their partners are still pretending not to see, they begin asking questions about the “new person” coming between them. “Who was that guy?” “Is he your friend too?” “Mark called; what did he tell you?”
Another clue of the difference between envy and jealousy is derived from the statements used by culprits in a given scenario. For instance, an envious colleague will say, “What? No, way! This is not possible! How can Stella be promoted to General Manager in just 6 months of working here? I suspect something going on between the CEO and “herself”. However, a jealous husband will say, “I didn’t really like the way you guys talked so much. You made me feel jealous.”
In sum, we now understand that jealousy and envy are all natural instincts of the human nature and depending on the circumstance whether competition-wise or relationship wise we are likely to exhibit one or both of these traits.
What so you think? Is there any real life experience you have to share? Lets hear you in the comments section below.