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Jealousy and envy can be sensitive and painful topics to think and talk about. They evoke memories and feelings that touch the core of our being, particularly our self-esteem or how we see ourselves.
While psychologists and counselors acknowledge these emotions as naturally occurring from time to time, they warn us about how they can be harmful to ourselves and the others we relate with.
Difference Between Jealousy and Envy
Before anything else, let’s distinguish these two emotions. Envy involves only two people and is felt when we lack something—an attribute or possession—that another person has.
Meanwhile, jealousy includes three people. Jealousy occurs when something we have (normally a special relationship) is threatened by a third party. Envy is marked by a real or perceived lack while jealousy is marked by a real or perceived threat of losing someone or something.
The two emotions are usually interchanged despite the difference. However, unlike envy, betrayal and outrage usually spring up when jealousy sets in.
Roots of Jealousy and Envy
To properly deal with these emotions, we need to understand what these feelings are and where they come from.
Some people say that jealousy in a relationship is a sign of love. But relationship therapists say that this belief is a misconception. Instead, the emotion can be a sign of deeper emotional issues.
Jealousy usually occurs due to a low self-esteem or not feeling good about ourselves. Most of people’s insecurities can be traced from their childhood. Insecurities usually form when a person experiences being compared and judged against their own siblings or other kids and told they fall short of expectations.
Comparison turns into jealousy when we start feeling inferior and our self-confidence is threatened by another person. Comparison makes us discontented with what we have and shifts our focus on traits we lack: fame, success, and physical strength or beauty.
Without proper regulation of our emotions, we can push ourselves toward experiencing extreme discontentment and deep-seated insecurities about the flaws we see in ourselves.
Negative Effects of Envy and Jealousy
Strong jealousy can have negative effects on our lives and social connections.
Jealousy can negatively affect our attitude, including a relentless pursuit of material things and status-giving achievements.
Endless pursuit of control
Behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva, who is behind the so-called Happiness Hypothesis Method for relationship coaching, says that we can’t try to control aspects of other people’s lives when we can’t seem to put order to aspects of our own life.
We can wear out other people by wanting to rule over their actions or prioritizing our needs over their needs.
Hyper-focused on Future
Jealousy can cause us to have irrational thoughts about the future, making us unable to live in and enjoy the present. We may become irrationally accusatory, suspicious, or angry based on the scenarios and events we think of.
Solutions for Jealousy
You can try the following steps to overcome jealousy and start enjoying a better relationship:
Recognize your jealous thoughts and behavior.
It’s not other people’s behaviors that are causing you to be jealous; it’s your reaction and thoughts that make you feel the way you do. Identify the source of your jealousy, including where your insecurities come from.
Examine your assumptions about your relationship.
Your idea about relationships is highly influenced by what you observed between your parents.
If you grew up in a home where one of your parents became unfaithful or was constantly suspicious of the other, you are also likely to be more suspicious of your partner as an adult.
Let go of your past.
You may need professional counseling to help you in dealing with trauma, resentment, anger and forgiving yourself.
Share your feelings with your partner.
Honestly tell your partner when you feel your relationship is threatened by another person. Examine if there is a rational explanation for what you are feeling and listen to your partner’s response.
Practice self-control and avoid acting out your feelings constantly.
If you have a habit of expressing your emotions and feelings through actions, take a moment, breathe, and think about the consequences of your actions first. Do not give in to that burst of raw emotion and regulate your feelings.
You must learn how to love yourself. Practicing self-love and self-care may teach you how to relate better with other people.
Here are some perspectives on jealousy and how to overcome this emotion:
Quotes about Jealousy and Envy
- “Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy, he thought. For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistible urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex. Yippee.” – J.R. Ward, Dark Lover
- “The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.” – Bette Midler
- “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” – H.G. Wells, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman
- “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Carrie Fisher
- “Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others – it only changes yours.” – Shannon Alder, 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It’s Too Late
- “Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?” – Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens
- “Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.”
- Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
- “Gossip is just a tool to distract people who have nothing better to do from feeling jealous of those few of us still remaining with noble hearts.” – Anna Godbersen, Splendor
- “The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.” – Criss Jami, Killosophy
- “She had loved him for such a long time, she thought. How was it that she did now know him at all?” – Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
- “Earthquakes just happen. Tornadoes just happen. Your tongue does not just happen to fall into some other girls mouth!” – Gemma Halliday, Deadly Cool
- “Nothing brings on jealousy like laughter.” – Françoise Sagan, That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader
- “Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.” – François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
- “He was jealous of her future, and she of his past.” – Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus
- “Insecure people only eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “Margaret was not a ready lover, but where she loved she loved passionately, and with no small degree of jealousy.” – Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
- “For a second I was almost jealous of the clouds. Why was he looking to them for an escape when I was right here beside him?” – Kamila Shamsie, Kartography
- “And I got out of there without punching anyone, kicking anyone, or breaking down in tears. Some days the small victories are all you achieve.” – Molly Ringle, Relatively Honest
- “Men are jealous of every woman, even when they don’t have the slightest interest in her themselves.” – Jan Neruda, Prague Tales
- “Most haters are stuck in a poisonous mental prison of jealousy and self-doubt that blinds them to their own potentiality.” – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
- “I’ve never been jealous before I met you, it burns, luv. Like silver through my veins. Some nights, watching you with other men on your jobs, I think it will drive me mad.” – Jeaniene Frost, At Grave’s End
- “The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.” – Salvador Dali
- “Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretence of keeping it alive.” – Havelock Ellis
- “Cruel people offer pity when they no longer feel threatened. However, kind people offer compassion and understanding regardless.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “Jealousy isn’t a pleasant quality, but if it isn’t overdone (and if it’s combined with modesty), apart from its inconvenience there’s even something touching about it.” – Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves
- “When emerging from humble beginnings, those around you tend to underestimate your authenticity because they knew you before you were ‘somebody’.” – Criss Jami, Killosophy
- “Jealousy’s a weak emotion.” – Jay-Z
- “I love being in love, but I also love other things, like not being jealous, overly sensitive, or needy.”– Dark Jar Tin Zoo, Love Quotes for the Ages
- “What sort of love is permeated by jealousy? You are jealous because you are unaware that everything you need is inside you.” – Peter Deunov
- “For God’s sake, let’s take the word ‘possess’ and put a brick round its neck and drown it … We can’t possess one another. We can only give and hazard all we have.” – Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman’s Honeymoon
- “He seems like a man who knows what he wants, and the problem is he wants what I want.” – Abbi Glines, Breathe
- “You can’t be yourself within jealousy.” – Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity
- “I won’t lie. I want to beat the hell out of any man who’s had you – you’d be smart to keep them the hell away from me – but nothing in your past can change how I feel about you.” – Sylvia Day, Reflected in You
- “What? Just because I can’t have you right now, doesn’t mean I’m okay with him having you.” – Cora Carmack, Losing It
- “My jealousy is a living thing. Shifting, changing, growing. Like my rage and my mother’s regret.” – Katja Millay, The Sea of Tranquility
- “Animals don’t know as much about jealousy as people, but they’re not ignorant of it, either.” – Stephen King, The Waste Lands
- “Humans are suspicious and jealous creatures. When they see something perfect, they want to find a flaw.” – Gosho Aoyama, Meitantei Konan
- “Jealousy is never satisfied with anything short of an omniscience that would detect the subtlest fold of the heart.” – George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
- “It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love … You can’t own a human being.” – Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
- “I said I was impressed, Martha. I’m beside myself with jealousy. What do you want me to do, throw up?” – Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- “I really am happy for Kiley. And for you and every other happily married lady. Except for that I’m not happy for you. I kind of want you all to drop dead.” – Rainbow Rowell, Attachments
- “When I thought of Eric with someone else, I wanted to rip out all his beautiful blonde hair. By the roots. In clumps.” – Charlaine Harris, Dead Reckoning
- “Sir, I did not count your glasses of wine, why should you number up my cups of tea?” – Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel Johnson, Vol 2
- “In jealousy there is more of self-love than love.” – Francois De La Rochefoucault
- “Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he entirely loves.” – Joseph Addison
- “Beware of those who criticize you when you deserve some praise for an achievement, for it is they who secretly desire to be worshiped.” – Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun
- “When you have been just told that the girl you love is definitely betrothed to another, you begin to understand how Anarchists must feel when the bomb goes off too soon.” – P.G. Wodehouse, Summer Lightning
- “Envy is for people who don’t have the self-esteem to be jealous.” – Bauvard, Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic
- “Jealousy is love in competition.” – Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
- “There will always be haters. And the more you grow the more they hate; the more they hate the more you grow.” – Anthony Liccione
- “Yet he was jealous, though he did not show it, for jealousy dislikes the world to know it.” – Lord Byron
- “It was one thing to accept I couldn’t have Dimitri. It was something entirely different to realize someone else could.” – Richelle Mead, Frostbite
- “If the rest of them can survive only by destroying us, then why should we wish them to survive? . . . Nothing can make it moral to destroy the best. One can’t be punished for being good. One can’t be penalized for ability.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
- “Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ.” – William Shakespeare, Othello
- “Jealousy has always been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed.” – Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
- “Jealousy is an ugly emotion that makes people do some seriously whacked shit and when a woman is experiencing it, it’s worse.” – Kristen Ashley, Motorcycle Man
- “What does jealousy indicate? Jealousy is love manifested in the physical world. If you are jealous you have a debt to pay; if someone is jealous of you, he has a debt to pay to you.” – Peter Deunov
- “Military guys are rarely as smart as they think they are, and they’ve never gotten over the fact that civilians run the military.” – Maureen Dowd
- “Do not share your thoughts with people who think that what you are thinking is not worth thinking.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
- “Besides, I’m not jealous. I’m just so in love with you that there isn’t anything else.” – Ernest Hemingway, Farewell to Arms
- “I refused to believe that love could take any other form than mine: I measured love by the extent of my jealousy, and by that standard of course she could not love me at all.” – Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
- “She let the jealousy slip out of her fingertips.” – Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily
- “Marriage and its entourage of possession and jealousy enslave the spirit.” – Irvin D. Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept
- “Some people talk about other people’s failures with so much pleasure that you would swear they are talking about their own successes.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
- “Would that thy love, beloved, had less trust in me, that it might be more anxious!” – Héloïse, The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse
- “He who is jealous, is never jealous of what you see, with what is imagined is enough.” – Jacinto Benavente
- “Even now, Dickon was upstairs, writing sonnets to his new love, while back at Seadown House, Marianne was writing ‘Ella’ on scraps of paper and then burning them.” – Jessica Day George, Princess of Glass
- “A lion does not flinch at laughter coming from a hyena. A gorilla does not budge from a banana thrown at it by a monkey. A nightingale does not stop singing its beautiful song at the intrusion of an annoying woodpecker.” – Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun
- “That should have been my strategy! By the time I’ve worked through the emotions of surprise, admiration, anger, jealousy, and frustration, I’m watching that reddish mane of hair disappear into the trees well out of shooting range.” – Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
- “The lovesick, the betrayed, and the jealous all smell alike.” – Colette
- “Maybe that was the root of my dislike for her: she had what I wanted, which earned her my jealousy, and since I was ashamed of myself for wanting it, my scorn, as well.” – Nenia Campbell, Bleeds My Desire
- “Nobody’s perfect. They are weak, with ugly hearts, and they quickly turn to jealousy. They try to knock others down. It’s so odd…In the world we live in, the greater a person is, the more difficult his or her life becomes.” – Wataru Watari
- “A jealous husband is an ugly thing.” – Keith Ablow, Murder Suicide
- “I wonder if Blue knows she’s repainting her room. I wonder if he’s asking if she wants a ride to the party tonight. I wonder if he knows what being strangled feels like.” – Victoria Scott, The Collector
- “What is jealousy but a reflection of your own failures?” – Michael Connelly, The Last Coyote
- “Stop worrying about someone taking your spot. God already have it reserved. Do the work to get there and fill it!” – Yvonne Pierre, The Day My Soul Cried
- “Never waste jealousy on a real man: it is the imaginary man that supplants us all in the long run.” – George Bernard Shaw
- “You never felt jealousy, did you, Miss Eyre? Of course not: I need not ask you; because you never felt love. You have both sentiments yet to experience: your soul sleeps; the shock is yet to be given which shall waken it.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
- “Mortals are easily tempted to pinch the life out of their neighbor’s buzzing glory, and think that such killing is no murder.” – George Eliot, Middlemarch
- “Jealousy is a disease, it’s like a poison.” – Francesca Marciano, Casa Rossa
- “My dear young lady, when you are in love, and jealous, and have been flogged by the Inquisition, there’s no knowing what you may do.” – Voltaire, Candide
- “What was it about that short creature with her wild hair and spurious air of purity and why would anyone much less two men love her and to such disastrous ends.” – Anna Godbersen, Envy
- “She shall scant show well that now shows best.” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
- “What was a rose but the living proof of desire, the single best evidence of human longing and earthly devotion. But desire could be twisted, after all, and Jealousy was the name of the rose that did well in arid souls.” – Alice Hoffman, The Probable Future
- “…there was a natural comorbidity between sexual appetite and sexual jealousy, between the desire to fuck and the desire to kill.” – M. Thomas Gammarino, Big in Japan
- “Animosity killed the elephant.” – Kevin Dalton
- “Here’s how man thinks: ‘If no one’s done it, why should I try? It’s a waste of time; but if he’s done it, I can do it better.’” – Nabil N. Jamal
- “When jealousy rears up, it indicates that something inside of you is afraid. It’s an alarm, nothing less and nothing more. Treat it as such.” – Anthony D. Ravenscroft, Polyamory