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It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous

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It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous

Jealousy is often seen as a negative emotion or a bad trait to have. It is usually synonymous with actions such as revenge or bitterness especially when it triggers a certain energy within someone. In romantic scenarios, the idea of someone being jealous of their partner talking to another person is a typical example. Or perhaps you see someone else with something you desperately want but don’t have.

Jealousy can lead some of us to make decisions we later regret or at least cause us to become cold and bitter. But there are also times when experiencing that feeling of envy can flick a switch inside of us. That yearning for something we don’t have can trigger us and fuel that determination to get what we want.

So can we look at jealousy differently? Can it actually be a good thing to feel envious? Could we use envy and jealousy to our advantage?

    The Subtle Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

    Jealousy is a natural emotion yet it’s been condemned by all cultures throughout history. It tends to be perceived with a negative charge with ultimate destructive tendencies either to other people or more likely just to our core selves. But while the negative energy can reside in envy, it can also be the basis for construction and motivation in our focus.

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    Small amounts of jealously can actually keep a relationship together or inspire us to be more attentive with our actions.

    So why do we even have the ability to feel these emotions?

    According to David Straker, author of Changing Minds, jealousy is primarily about our reaction to loss. When you are emotionally attached to something and it’s perceived as taken away from you or threatened to be taken away, your reaction is one of hurt and anger.

    Envy is more focused on what you don’t have. You may see someone with something you want and envy that person. The amount of envy you feel is relative to the amount of unfairness you feel about the situation and this negative energy is often aimed proportionally at the person in question. It can then spiral into inferior feelings of unworthiness and so the result is to justify things staying as they are instead of using it as motivation to achieve more.

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      When we break it down, envy is rooted in fear. It’s the fear of feeling weak, powerless or less-than. Advertisers all know about this and tap into the envy lurking in our subconscious to get us to compete with others and spend money to essentially keep up with the Jones’.

      There’s an interesting quote from Helmut Schoeck’s book, Envystates: “Envy is a drive which lies at the core of man’s life as a social being, and which occurs as soon as two individuals become capable of mutual comparison.” He also notes, “It is the great regulator in all personal relationships: fear of arousing it curbs and modifies countless actions.”

      Often, if someone shines a spotlight on an accomplishment of ours there’s a need to counteract this by us mentioning some misfortune to balance it out. The negativity around envy is born out of comparisons which only become stronger within a close-knit society and people with similar and comparable backgrounds to us.

      How The ‘Flaw’ of Envy Can Be a Good Thing

      It’s important to perceive envy as an indicator to where your focus is and where it’s guiding you. It’s an opportunity to stand back and re-evaluate your mindset and what you want in life.

      What is this feeling of envy telling you? Is there a certain direction you want to follow? Why are you having these feelings?

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      Understand that when you feel envy, it’s not about the other person or circumstance, it’s fundamentally about you. It’s time to question yourself – not in a judgemental way – but rather a means to focus on what needs to change within yourself in order to get what you want.

      Envy is an illusion. It’s not about reality but all about our own perception. Once we understand this, we can use this as fuel for motivation and changing our mindset towards ourselves and our situation.

      How To Use Envy To Your Advantage

      When feelings of envy come up in your life, question yourself.

      1. What can I learn from this person’s success?
      2. What’s been stopping me from thinking bigger with my life and not achieving what they’ve achieved?
      3. Have I set the right standards for my own success? Have I appreciated what I’ve already achieved or have I just dismissed milestones? Am I not getting recognition because I’ve been envious of others rather than recognising their successes positively?

      Embracing our negative emotions is key because they’re there to show us changes we need to make. Envy and jealously opens up doors that we need to acknowledge and walk through.

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        When we realise envy is more about us we can understand that it’s really us acknowledging other’s fortunes instead of our own. Jean Vanier stated that, “envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.”

        Therefore the best cure for envy is prosperity and the best thing about envy is the opportunity for motivation and change in your life. If you’re feeling the emotion of envy strongly, it may be an important indicator to let you know there are perspectives about your own life that you need to re-evaluate. Use it for motivation and positivity rather than the negative and powerless charge we’re led to believe it is.

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel.com via pexels.com

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        Anna Chui

        Anna is the Editor-in-Chief and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert and shares tips on happiness and relationships.

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        Last Updated on January 24, 2022

        21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work

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        21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work

        Having texting and video conferencing at our fingertips, it appears that maintaining a long-distance relationship is easier than ever. Long-distance calls are no longer a luxury; the days when they needed to be rationed are long gone.

        Long-distance couples do not have to depend on 3 p.m. postal delivery, waiting for news that is at best four days old.

        Now we’re no longer even in the days of waiting for our loved ones to check their e-mail when they get home from work. Instant messaging keeps us hooked to each other even when we are out shopping, working, playing, watching a movie and doing much more.

        Technology, however, cannot compensate for everything in a long-distance relationship, as anyone with a long-distance relationship will tell you.

        Many long-distance relationships still seem emotionally difficult despite the lack of regular physical proximity.

        People often think long-distance relationships will never work. It may be discouraged by your family, and some of your best friends may tell you not to take it too seriously in case you end up heartbroken.

        Many things are not possible due to the extra distance – no one can promise it will be easy. Things could get complicated, and you might feel lonely and sad at times.

        Still, many of us try them.

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        However, the extra distance also makes the simplest things the sweetest. Being able to hold the other person’s hand, eating together at the same table, feeling each other’s touch, taking a walk together, smelling each other’s hair… these small wishes could suddenly mean so much more in a long-distance relationship.

        Long-distance relationships may be tough, but they have their own surprises too.

        Here’re 21 tips on how to make a long distance relationship work:

        1. Avoid excessive communication.

        It is unwise to be overly “sticky” and possessive. You two don’t really have to communicate 12 hours a day to keep the relationship going. Many couples think that they need to compensate for the distance by doing more. This is not true. And it might only make things worse. Soon you would get tired of “loving.”

        Remember: Less is more. It is not about spamming — you are only going to exhaust yourselves. It’s really about teasing at the right moments and tugging at the right spots.

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        2. See it as an opportunity.

        “If you want to live together, you first need to learn how to live apart.” – Anonymous

        View it as a learning journey for both of you. This is an opportunity for you to prove your love for one another. According to a Chinese proverb, “Real gold is not afraid of the test of fire.” Instead of thinking that this long-distance relationship is pulling you two apart, you should believe that through this experience, the both of you will be bound together even stronger.

        As Emma says it to Will in season four of Glee,

        “I would rather be here, far from you, but feeling really close, rather than close to you but feeling really far away.” – Emma, Glee Season 4

        3. Set some ground rules to manage your expectations.

        Both of you need to be clear with what you expect of each other during this long-distance relationship. Set some ground rules so that none of you will do things that will take the other party by surprise.

        For instance, are you two exclusive? Is it all right for the other person to go on dates? What is your commitment level? It’s better to be open with each other about all these things.

        4. Try to communicate regularly, and creatively.

        Greet each other “good morning” and “good night” every day — this is a must. On top of that, try to update your partner on your life and its happenings, however mundane some of the things may seem.

        To up the game, send each other pictures, audio clips, and short videos from time to time. By putting in this kind of effort, you make the other person feel loved and attended to.

        5. Talk dirty with each other.

        Sexual tension is undoubtedly one of the most important things between couples. In a way, sexual desire is like the glue that keeps both parties from drifting apart. Sexual need is not only biological but also emotional.

        Keep the flames burning by sending each other teasing texts filled with sexual innuendos and provocative descriptions. Sexy puns work pretty well too.

        6. Avoid “dangerous” situations.

        If you already know that going to the club or going drinking with your group of friends late at night will displease your partner, then you should either 1. Not do it or 2. Tell your partner beforehand to reassure them.

        You should not let this sort of thing slip by because it will only make your partner extra worried or suspicious – and of course, very upset because they will feel powerless or lack control over the situation.

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        You can fall victim to your traps by going out with eye candy from work after work or dating someone from your past who has been flirting with you without realizing it. Before entering a dangerous situation, you need to recognize the dangers.

        Listen to your heart, but don’t just rely on it. Make sure you also listen to your mind.

        7. Do things together.

        Play a game online together. Watch a documentary at the same time on YouTube or Vimeo. Share a song on Skype while another plays the guitar. Video-call each other and go for a walk together. Together, go online shopping – and buy each other gifts (see #13).

        You really have to be creative and spontaneous about it.

        8. Do similar things.

        Recommend books, TV shows, movies, music, news and etc., to each other. When you read, watch and listen to the same things, you get to have more topics in common to talk about.

        Even if you live apart, it’s nice to have some shared experiences.

        9. Make visits to each other.

        Every long-distance relationship is enriched by visits.

        After all the waiting and yearning and abstinence, you finally get to meet each other to fulfil all the little things like kissing, holding hands, etc. These are typical for couples in long-distance relationships but more special and intimate for long-distance couples.

        The atmosphere will be filled with fireworks, glitter bombs, confetti, rainbows, and butterflies.

        10. Have a goal in mind.

        Are we going to be apart for a long time?” “what about the future?” These are the questions you should ask yourselves.

        In fact, a couple cannot stay in a long-distance relationship forever. Eventually, we all need to settle down.

        So make a plan with each other. Set up a timeline, mark down the estimated times apart and times together, and draw an end goal.

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        It is important that you two are on the same page and have the same goals. So that even if you are not living in the same space and the same timezone, both of you are still motivated to work together in the same direction towards a future that includes one another.

        That’s right, you need some motivation to make a relationship last too. Find out more about what motivates you here.

        11. Enjoy your alone time and your time with your friends and family.

        You are alone, but you are not lonely unless you choose to feel like it. You don’t have to let your world revolve around your partner — you still have you, your friends, and your family. Take this time apart to do more with your friends and family. Go to the gym more often. Get a new hobby. Binge-watch shows. There are plenty of things for you to do that don’t involve your partner.

        12. Stay honest with each other.

        Talk about your feelings of fear, insecurity, jealousy, apathy, whatsoever. If you try to hide anything from your partner, that secret will sooner or later swallow you up from the inside out. Don’t try to deal with things all by yourself. Be open and honest with each other. Let your partner help you and give you the support you need. It’s better to look at the problem during its initial stage than to only disclose it when it’s all too late.

        13. Know each other’s schedules.

        It’s helpful to know when the other person is busy and free. So that you can drop a text or make a call at the right time. You wouldn’t want to disturb your partner when they are in the middle of class or halfway through a business meeting. Make sure you are aware of everyone’s small and big events in their lives, i.e., college midterms and exams, important business trips and meetings, job interviews, etc. Particularly if you live in different time zones, this becomes more important.

        14. Keep track of each other’s social media activities.

        Facebook and Instagram photos of each other. Send each other tweets. Tag each other on Facebook. Post stuff on each other’s wall. Let them know you care. Be cool with stalking each other.

        15. Gift a personal object for the other person to hold on to.

        Memories have power. No matter what it is–a pendant, a ring, a keychain, a collection of songs and videos, or a perfume bottle. Everyday items and things have meanings to us, whether we realize it or not. We all try to store memories in material things so that when our minds fail, we will still be able to look at or hold onto something that will help us recall our memories. This is why something so simple can mean so much to a person when others may see little or no value in it.

        16. Get a good messaging app.

        This is extremely important because texting is the most frequent and common way of communication the two of you have. You need a good messaging app on your phones that allows interactions beyond words and emoticons.

        Personally, I use this messaging app called LINE. I find it highly effective because it has a huge reserve of playful and very funny “stickers” that are free for its users to use. You can also go to the app’s “Sticker Shop” to download (or gift!) extra stickers of different themes (e.g., Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Snoopy, MARVEL, etc.) at a low price. Occasionally, the app will give out free sticker sets for promotions. This messaging app is cute and easy to learn to use.

        17. Snail-mail your gift.

        Mail each other postcards and hand-written love letters. Send each other gifts across the globe from time to time. Flower deliveries on birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. Shop online and surprise each other with cool T-shirts, sexy underwear, and such.

        18. Stay positive.

        You need to constantly inject positive energy into the long-distance relationship to keep it alive. Yes, the waiting can be painful, and you can sometimes feel lonely, but you need to remind yourself that the fruits at the end will be sweet as heaven.

        One good trick to staying positive is to be grateful all the time. Be thankful that you have someone to love — someone who also loves you back. Be thankful for the little things, like the hand-made letter that arrived safely in your mailbox the other day. Be thankful for each other’s health and safety.

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        19. Keep each other updated on each other’s friends and family.

        This will help you two to know each other’s culture and values. Knowing small habits of each other helps in developing an understanding and building mutual trust.

        Talking about family and friends gives you more matters to talk about. The best thing to talk about is gossip and scandals.

        20. Video-call whenever possible.

        Because sometimes looking into each other’s eyes and hearing each other’s voices can make everything feel alright again.

        A video call is though nothing like being together, but it’s the best thing and the most to do for coziness in a long-distance relationship.

        21. Give each other pet names.

        Because it’s cute. It keeps the lovey-dovey going. Having special names for each other reserved only for one another are heart-warming. Hearing that one word with love lifts our spirits up, and we feel assured all over again.

        Chaos seems to fade away just by hearing that special word from someone special.

        With the best wishes…

        Love (or like) is a force that is beyond your control. Love just happens. The same goes for turning off those feelings, even when you get the perfect job halfway across the country.

        Neither one of us expects to be long-distance in a relationship. But if you’re in a relationship like this, you’ll just have to make the most out of a difficult situation. These advice for long distance relationships will hopefully help you stay strong and cheerful when living apart from one another.

        More Recommended Relationships Experts on Lifehack
        • Carol Morgan —  A communication professor, dating/relationship and success coach
        • Dr. Magdalena Battles — A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault
        • Randy Skilton —  An educator in the areas of relationships and self-help

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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