So lets look at some definitions and traits, and then look at one such person, whose own insecurities and fears brought them to covet what others had and compare themselves, almost constantly to others, as well. But please understand that this is a fictional person and scenario, and in no way reflects on any one person personally.
1. Envy (also called invidiousness) may be defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."
Envy can also derive from a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been he or she who had the desired object.
2. Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, such as a relationship, friendship, or love. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust.
3. Insecurity is a feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving oneself to be unloved, inadequate or worthless (whether in a rational or an irrational manner).
A person who is insecure lacks confidence in their own value and capability, lacks trust in themselves or others, or has fears that a present positive state is temporary and will let them down and cause them loss or distress by "going wrong" in the future.
4. Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.
Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent-incompetent") and emotions (for example, triumph-despair, pride-shame). Behavior may reflect self-esteem (for example, assertiveness-shyness, confidence-caution).
Characteristics Of Envy
1. Malice: Feelings of envy can often evoke malicious behaviors toward others, be it through rumor and gossip or physical harm. The point is that the envious person is attempting to bring the person being envied down to their own level of misery in order to make themselves feel better. It is a compensatory behavior brought on by insecurity.
2. Jealousy: Feelings of jealousy tend to occur between peers who stand at about the same level. And it can be emboldened, when one of those peers is seen to be getting ahead of the other person, particularly if the person experiencing jealousy is already insecure and has a competitive nature.
3. Dejection: Feelings of envy can often bring on feelings of self pity, depression, and dejection for a two fold reason. The first is because of someone else's perceived good fortune. The second is because of the envious person's own assumed lack of good fortune by comparison, even if they lead a relatively good life.
4. Emulation: Often times those who experience envy will attempt to emulate, or mimic, those who they are envious of. This can be as simple as a style of dress to something more complex like behavior patterns. This can become unhealthy because the person who is envious can potentially lose themselves as unique individuals in the pursuit of emulating another.
5. Hypocrisy: Often those who experience envy will say one thing to a person's face and then turn around and say another thing behind that person's back. Often this is an attempt to disparage the person being envied through rumor, innuendo, and subtle insult.
6. Lovelessness: Often envy begins in wishing to better oneself, but as it blossoms within a person it can turn into self loathing and self contempt. And when we hate ourselves in such a way, we are unable to love others appropriately, if at all.
7. Cynicism: Envy breeds bitterness and resentment, which in turn can become cynicism toward the world around them, the people within it, and the life in general. Apathy has a tendency to set in, because of insecurity and envy.
8. Lose Of Control: Often one who is excessively envious of others can be left feeling as though they have lost control of their own lives. In focusing on others achievements, which they can not control, and comparing themselves and their own accomplishments to it, joy, love, and happiness tend to dissipate, fading into resentment, bitterness, and anger.
9. Anger/Resentment: Anger and Resentment, as we've noted in other parts of this list, are often byproducts of envy. When one person seems to easily achieve something, while others must work hard for it and still do not stand as equals, both resentment and anger can occur.
A Case Study
Now that we've seen some definitions and signs of envy and jealously, lets bring it to life with a case study, shall we? Try to spot some of the signs listed above within this story. And, if you are not to uncomfortable doing it, try to liken it to experiences you've had in the past. Because, despite how we might deny it, we've all had one or two moments like this person (despite the particular experience, gender and other differentiating factors).
A Case Study In EnvyThe Analysis
A young girl, at the age of 5, is told by her mother constantly, "Why can't you be more like your sister, who is sweet and makes good grades? Why do you have to be such a bad child all the time?" These constant reminders assail her consciousness, reverberating through her mind as she grows up, causing her to be insecure and doubt her own abilities.
In high school, she makes moderately good grades and even makes honor roll. But she does not make straight A's as her 'best' friend does. And she does not get a much coveted award for those efforts. And even though she is friends with this person, she can not be happy for her. Silently she seethes with jealousy. And secretly thinks she is going to have to work doublely hard to beat her next time around.
Prom comes around and the electing of a Prom Queen, and though she is beautiful and popular in her own right, she loses to another girl. Instead, she becomes part of the royal court, which is made up of he runner-ups. Outwardly she stands proudly in her beautiful gown, with her date, smiling and happy for the other girl. While inwardly she seethes with jealously at having lost to such a 'bimbo', 'slut', or 'back-stabbing idiot'.
She is dating one of the more popular guys in school who comes from a modest background and is an all around good guy who is good looking, but not gorgeous. And she believes she really cares for him. And another of her friends is dating a football player who is handsome, popular, makes excellent grades and even comes from a wealthy family. They seem blissfully happy together.
As she focuses on her friend's lovey dovey relationship, and how happy they seem together, she begins to focus on the negative things in her own relationship ~ the things she perceives are missing from it. She begins to notice all the little things that annoy her about her boyfriend, which seemed inconsequential before. And then her eyes begin to wander to other potentially better matches for her to date. So she starts getting more and more frustrated in her own relationship, and they begin to fight more and more, until they end up breaking up. Free at last, she begins to flirt with other men, who are deemed better choices, almost immediately.
As she gets older, these small issues become a pattern in her life. She begins to talk about the people who she calls 'friend' behind their back. She jumps from relationship to relationship. And internally, she feels insecure because everyone seems to have more than her, is better at things than her, has achieved more than her, and so on. Insecurity turns to jealousy and envy, which in turn becomes resentment and hypocrisy which are enacted through her behavior and sly attitudes toward those around her.
She gets a job she loves, after she graduates from college. And she believes she is happy. She makes friends in her workplace and grows particularly close to a female coworker who holds the same position as her. When this friend is eventually promoted to a higher position, the woman's insecurities begin to rise up again, as she wonders why her 'friend' was chosen and not her. So, she begins to talk about her friend behind her back, disparaging the other woman's ability to lead and even insinuating she might have had an untoward relationship in order to get ahead of everyone else.
The woman's friend eventually is forced to leave her position in shame, because the rumors reach the higher up people in charge. But even when the position becomes open again, this woman is still overlooked. And she becomes bitter and resentful toward those in charge. She is angry.
This anger and resentment carry over into her outside relationships. She has relationship after relationship and it never lasts for more than 6 months. And friends seem to stop calling after a while and avoid her. And yet, she still can not understand why all of these people seem to be pushing away from her. And again, it makes her angry, bitter, and resentful which in turn fuels her insecurities.
Did you spot the envy, resentment, bitterness, anger, confusion, self loathing, self doubt, and insecurity? Could you relate and did you find it reminded you of experiences you had in the past? Whether you recognized them in yourself or not, all of those things were present within the case study. So, lets break it down a bit to make it a little more obvious.
This woman, since early on, was conditioned to compare herself to others. And because one of her primary care givers (her mother), thus her primary role models, always found her lacking by comparing her to her sister, she eventually began to do this in herself, as well, as she emulated her mother's behaviors.
She found that everyone in her life, from those in her youth to those in her adult life, were always doing better than her in some way, despite what she had achieved on her own. And by comparing herself to others, of whom she saw as doing better than her, she began to devalue herself.
This self doubt based on comparison brought on anger, bitterness, malicious behaviors toward others, and emboldened her own innate insecurities. So it became a continuous cycle self loathing, which was acted out through her attitudes and behaviors toward others, in order to make her feel more secure in her own skin. This is done with the idea that if other people are suffering as she does, then she is equal to them.
This, in the long run, leaves her life full of broken relationships, both romantic and friend wise and devoid of anyone to support her. It also leaves her feeling dejected, depressed and alone, with a life devoid of joy and happiness.
Envy & The Empath
An Empath is an individual with the ability to sense & feel the emotions and energies of people, animals or objects at a distance. Another way to think of it is that an Empath has the ability to be highly in tune with other people's emotions and emotional states.
But this does not necessarily mean that an Empath will automatically show empathy toward others, particularly if they are bogged down with their own insecurities, self doubt and/or low self esteem. Because above being an Empath, who is highly sensitive to others, they are also human beings who are prone to the same emotions and predilections as other people. Being an Empath, in other words, does not necessarily mean that it will allow you to rise above such things as envy and jealousy.
So, despite this not being directly connected with being an Empath, it is important to recognize the this is an emotion, like all of the others, in which we are all prone to experience at some time in our lives. As well, it is important to recognize the characteristics of this emotion within others and within ourselves, so that it can be dealt with appropriately.
Healing Envy & Jealousy
There are a number of steps one can take in order to help overcome and heal the feelings one has of envy and jealously. Here are but a few of them.
1. The first step to healing envy is becoming aware that you possess those feelings and acknowledging them, even if it causes you discomfort to do so.There are many more ways to help heal the feelings of envy and jealousy. But the most important ones are acknowledgment, understanding of why you feel that way, and the addressing of those issues. So think about it.
2. Build your envy understanding, by learning more about yourself. Try taking a Jealousy Quiz.
3. Get in touch with what you are feeling. Stop what you are doing when those jealous feelings come up and just sit and allow them to surface without judging them. Whether there is any truth to what you are feeling or not, allow your feelings to be there. If you sit long enough with jealousy, you'll probably find that underneath is anger and/or fear. When you can address either anger or fear in your life, you will be on your way to healing. (Taken from Here)
- How Strong Is Your Jealousy?
- Are You The Jealous Type?
- Jealous Much?
- Jealousy Quiz
- What Is Your Level Of Jealousy?
4. Have the courage to address what's happening in your life. If there is truth to what you fear is happening, then formulate a plan to hit the problem with honesty. Quit guessing and have the courage to find out. If there isn't any truth to your fears, then bring yourself into the present moment each time those fears come up. Remind yourself that you are only making up untrue stories. If the actions that you fear are actually happening, then you may need to decide if want to continue in this situation if your partner refuses to change his/her behavior. If you know that you are making up stories that are untrue about what you are feeling, then you can decide to change what you believe. (Taken From Here)