Lovepedia How do I deal with envy and jealousy?


How do I deal with envy and jealousy?

Envy and jealousy are two emotions that we would prefer to keep hidden from others. Persistent envy or jealousy prevents us from leading a fulfilled and happy life. But what do envy and jealously actually signify? And how can I better cope with them?

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Envy and jealousy: What's the difference?

Envy and jealousy are oppressive feelings that not only make life difficult for those suffering from them, but sometimes for others as well. They often arise when we are afraid of missing out, of not getting something or when we are afraid of losing what we already have. But what is the difference between envy and jealousy?
Envy occurs when someone desperately wants to have what someone else has. This does not necessarily have to be material things. It can also be recognition, love or a feeling of security. People fuelled by envy tend to measure their own happiness against that of others. They believe that by imitating the success or attributes of others, they can achieve similar success or attributes themselves. Envious people tend to play down the success of others or emphasize their failures. Envy becomes particularly destructive when people wish harm on another, such as an accident or even death.
In contrast to envy, “wanting to have”, jealousy consists of “wanting to keep”. It arises from the fear of losing something or someone. The feeling of jealousy is particularly noticeable in relationships that are important to you – be it jealousy between siblings, in friendships or between spouses. There can be many reasons for jealousy, from the excessive pursuit of a hobby to a partner’s infidelity. When fears of loss become particularly intense and the level of suffering gradually increases, professional support in the form of counselling or therapy can play a crucial role.

Dealing with envy and jealousy

Jealousy, whether objectively justified or not, requires loving attention, sometimes even healing. The jealous person has the feeling that someone else could take their place. The person is afraid of not being loved enough or not being worthy of love. And yet these emotions don’t just happen. They are an expression of more or less deep inner wounds and low self-esteem. In other words, they are a cry for love, for attention. There is therefore no need to be ashamed of or blame yourself for such feelings. Instead, it is important to turn to yourself lovingly and ask: What need is bubbling up in me now? What do I need? What does the other person need? If jealousy is at play, it requires mutual communication with a lot of sensitivity and respect for each other. However, we should not only be merciful to others, but also to ourselves. This is not always easy! Envy and jealousy can be so shameful for us that we often condemn ourselves instead of exploring and understanding the causes of these feelings. The more we become aware of our own qualities and our own value, the better we manage to be calm and confident and give less room to jealousy.

Why is envy a cardinal sin?

The Bible contains numerous stories in which envy and jealousy had devastating consequences. One well-known example is the story of the brothers Cain and Abel, in which envy led to a horrific crime, fratricide: A story that found its way into the Old Testament to show just how destructive envy can be. A never-ending story that spans generations!
There is no era, no society and no culture in which envy and jealousy are not an issue. The apostle James warned the first Christians in his letter: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”(James 3:16) This is why the Church included envy among the seven capital sins, because it can often lead to other grievous sins. Envy even made it into the Ten Commandments. It appears twice, in the 9th and 10th commandments: “You shall not covet…” (Exodus 20:17).

God loves you! Even with your jealousy

Do you also know this? Your thoughts are always revolving around how good things are going for the other person and how poor off you are. Do you think it’s unfair, does it hurt you when the other person doesn’t give you the love you long for?

If you are suffering from envy and jealousy, be patient and kind to yourself. Be aware of your pain and ask those close to you to be understanding your weakness. Above all, however, express your pain to God. Tell him everything, talk to him about your fear of being abandoned or devalued. Nowhere can God touch you more deeply and healingly than where you are most deeply in pain. Your value does not change no matter what you do. Your dignity is separate from what you do, your possessions, your appearance, your qualities, your knowledge, your professional achievements, your abilities. God loves you as you are! Even with your weaknesses. Try to look at yourself as God sees you. You are made in his image and therefore deserving of love!