Pop Quiz: What’s the difference between jealousy and envy?
Most people who I’ve asked this to were quick to tell me that there IS no difference — they’re synonyms. Please allow me to be the first person to inform you of being incorrect.
Jealousy, when used correctly, is the fear that someone else might take something away from you. You’re jealous of the look of someone else, for you fear they may take attention away from you. When your significant other spends a lot of time with a friend of the opposite gender, you fear that they may steal them away from you. It happens every day as we interact with others and wish to improve ourselves so that we will no longer have anything to fear.
But envy — envy is FAR more malicious. It reverses the direction of jealousy and packs a one-two punch. Envy is either the desire to possess something that someone else has, OR the desire that they did NOT have a certain thing. It’s a nasty Deadly Sin — one I can’t really see a good side to; the entire action of wanting to claim the possessions or another as your own in just about every case is WRONG.
Ridiculous things happen on account of envy, such as school pranks involving humiliation, or sabotaging the work of coworkers to make yours look superior, but they all stem from us taking our jealous thoughts and using them to fuel envious actions.
There’s nothing right with jealousy itself, but it’s going to happen. It’s a fact that there will always be some better, faster, stronger, sexier or smarter than us. We are all of the same species and essential chemical makeup, but when it comes to skills, abilities and the other intangible qualities that make us human, we are definitely NOT equal.
You NEED to accept this. Embrace it. Know it in the core of your being — you are not the best. Sure, you might be the best at something RIGHT NOW (with the praise and awards to prove it), but you won’t be FOREVER. And that day you’re knocked off of the podium — whenever it may be — you need to descend GRACEFULLY.
So look at yourself before you look at anyone else. Love what you see. Because you’re stuck with it, yet only you are in control of what happens to you as you walk this earth, and nothing that anyone else has will make you any better.
If you need some pointers, I put a hundred of them up a few months ago.
Tomorrow, we look at stuffing your face ’til you’re a disgrace. See you then!
–Casey E. Palmer