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Are you jealous or envious?

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Many folks do not know the difference between jealousy and envy. Envy is the desire to possess what someone else posseses such as heath, beauty or money which in and of itself is more benign than jealousy because it usually does not involve acting-out behaviors. In fact in some instances it motivates a person to improve themselves by choosing a healthier life style, a more lucrative job, or improving thenselves  in some way.

On the other hand, jealousy is an emotional reaction to a threat of losing something or someone. For example jealousy often occurs in relationships yet is difficult to admit and also hard to talk about. In a study conducted by two psycholgoists at the University of South Carolina (Psychology Today, November/December 2016) it was reported that actions such as putting your arm around a spouse at a party or helping a partner's cute coworker draws a partner back in.  Furthermore it was found that indivduals were more commited to the relationship after a partner took such mate-guarding actions. The researchers concluded a little jealousy can benefit a relationship while too much jealousy potentially has bad implicatons.  Dealing with jealousy requires admitting to one's feelings rather than deliverying accusations--such as stating "I feel jealous when I see how others are attracted to and interact with you and I want you to talk to me the same way you talk to them." In addition couples need to assess what may be missing in their relationship and work toward incorporating new ways of being together.

Habits of people who never get jealous (HuffingtonPost, 2/04/2015) are: #1 They have a sense of self-worth #2 They celebrate other's successes #3 They take stock of their blessings #4 They know when to unplug from social media #5 They don't seek approval from other people #6 They don't focus on labels #7 They surround themselves with trustworhty people #8 They don't compare themselves to others. Notice how these habits are characterstics of individuals who function at stage 6 and higher of the ten stages of ego growth. If you are not yet familiar with these  growth stages, now is a perfect time to acquaint yourself.  Grow Up Your Ego is loaded with information that will improve your life in many ways including establishing enduring healthy relationships.



  • Mary Monday, 31 October 2016

    Thanks for making the distinction between envy and jealousy. I think I've used the words interchangeably, but it's helpful in understanding my own behavior to keep this distinction in mind. I like your examples of how to speak about one's jealousy in a relationship, as it's all too easy to act out like a hot-head.

  • Jeannette M. Gagan Monday, 31 October 2016

    Your comment aptly points out how one can act out like a hot-head when jealousy isn't understood and addressed which may endanger a relationship.

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