Envy and Jealousy - There is a Difference

It is so common that I often hear people mentioning envy and jealousy sparsely as if they are synonyms and interchangeable. I will argue that they are not; they have different meanings and that is why I believe they should not be used interchangeably. The only thing that I find them to be similar on, is how they are symbolized through color – both are represented by the color green.

Envy is the ill-feeling that makes you think that someone is greater than you because he/she owns something that you do not. So if for example, you have a buddy from the neighborhood who just bought an awesome sports car and you feel bad about it, that is envy.

Jealousy Sucks
On the one hand, jealousy is a natural feeling when you are under the impression that someone is taking or has taken something which you believe belongs to you. That is why, if ever you see your S.O. (or significant other) kissing someone of the opposite sex, you would tend to feel that something reserved only for you is being taken by someone else – what you feel is called jealousy. Another example of this is, your mom and dad are giving a lot more attention to a brother or sister over you, and you feel that you are being left out.

More Sinister

Between jealousy and envy, however, the latter is more sinister. Albeit both can bring out the monster in you (if it is not put under control), envy is an emotion that employs scheming and treachery. In jealousy, you can even find it sweet and touching once you recognize that a loved one gets jealous because of you. On the other hand, a person who is the object of an envious scheme can find himself or herself the subject of gossips and a target of hidden attacks.

So there you have it. The next time you use either of these 2 words, make sure you are selecting the appropriate one lest your words betray your intent.

Circe Invidiosa
Circe Abounding in Envy by John Waterhouse

Recommended for You