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  • Writer's pictureConnie Leach

Are You Green with Envy?

"Envy comes from people's ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts."

-Jean Vanier

The expression" green with envy" signifies experiencing a powerful sense of longing for someone else's possessions or advantages. Shakespeare, in his play, "Anthony and Cleopatra," referred to envy as the "green sickness."

Envy is an emotion that arises when you harbor resentment or anger towards someone due to their perceived advantage or success. For instance, phrases like, "I wish I were as slender as Jessica" or "I believe I deserve the same salary increase as Alex received," exemplify this feeling.

Although, envy and jealousy are often used interchangeably, jealousy tends to evoke a more passionate response in safeguarding something you already possess. This commonly arises in relationships when jealousy emerges from the fear of someone spending time with your best friend or spouse, leading to suspicions of potentially being replaced.

This overwhelming feeling of jealousy is often referred to as "jealous rage," an intense and destructive emotional response that can consume individuals when they feel threatened or insecure in a relationship or situation whether real or imagined. Jealous rage can cloud judgment and impair rational thinking with t

he potential to damage relationships and harm your well-being. Recognizing and controlling these intense emotions is essential to maintaining healthy relationships and personal mental and emotional health.

In reality, the quote above by Jean Vanier says it all. Envy can really only occur when you are feeling less confident in your own sense of self. When you feel inferior to others, it signals your own feelings of inadequacy and diminished abilities.

If you find yourself feeling envious, angry, resentful, or helpless with regard to another person or situation, here are a few things that may be helpful to do:

  1. Simply notice your feelings and pause with a few deep breaths to give yourself time to clearly assess the situation.

  2. If it involves social media, walk away from it until your feelings subside.

  3. Focus on your strengths and affirming your belief in yourself. It may be helpful to take an online personality quiz to reconnect with your gifts and talents allowing you to refocus on what is best about you.

  4. Refrain from criticizing or demeaning the other person even though you may want to lash out. Lashing out will only make the situation worse and further distancing yourself from feeling confident.

  5. Find some things you have in common with the other person and get to know them better.

  6. Take a walk until your feelings calm down.

  7. Journal your thoughts and feelings thus expressing them on paper rather than lashing out. Allow some time to reread your writings and perhaps may see things in a different light.

While feelings of envy and jealousy can be motivating in terms of competing with the other person, they can also be debilitating by not focusing on your own self-worth and self-esteem. These feelings are signals that you must do the work of building your confidence, taking care of your needs, and deepening your knowledge of interpersonal skills.

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