Envy and Jealousy

This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while now. Two events have finally made me pull the trigger.

The first happened a few days ago. A coworker was leaving for the evening and won’t be back to work for a few days because she was heading for a vacation in Florida while the rest of us are waiting out another winter storm and working as usual. After she left, another coworker started saying obnoxious things about how she hopes our vacationing coworker has a lousy time. About how, if the weather is nice, she hopes she ends up with a sunburn. At the end of her bitchy tirade, she said something to the effect that yes, she was jealous.

The second event was seeing a tweet where the person tweeted that they were in a lovely bubble bath sipping a drink and ended the tweet with, “You’re allowed to be jealous.”

The dictionary defines jealousy as feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantage. Whereas envy is defined as a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc. ┬áThe difference for me is that jealousy includes resentment whereas envy involves coveting.

I tend to think of envy as wishing I had something that another person has. But for me, jealousy is thinking that someone has something that should belong to me instead. It is more than simply wishing you had something ┬áthat they have; it’s the resentment factor.

There are lots of times when I am envious. But when that happens, I don’t resent that person. If I want the thing they have, I can buy it or earn it for myself if that’s possible. If that’s not possible, than oh well. Unless that person did something unethical to get that thing, I’m not going to resent them for their good fortune.

I’m not sure what possessed my coworker to say such bitchy things. I hadn’t realized she could be so petty and nasty until that moment. Nor do I understand why someone would think a bubble bath and a drink should inspire resentful behavior.

Personally, life’s too short for those kinds of negative emotions. If I want something, I’ll work for it. If you get that thing first, good for you.

Maybe I’m just a stickler for using words correctly. Or maybe I’m a little bit more aware of the ugly side of jealousy and how it can impact a person’s life. Either way, jealousy is an emotion I no longer choose to experience; and a word I no longer use.

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