I am writing to you because I need to tell someone a very private feeling which I have never talked about in my life and which at 35 is becoming unmanageable. I don’t miss anything, objectively. I’m not beautiful, very rich or very lucky but, average yet I am very jealous of my friends, their successes, the time they spend with their boyfriends, the clothes they buy, the holidays they take. It seems to me that the their things are always more beautiful and cool than mine. I know what I’m writing to you is bad and I feel bad saying it but unfortunately it is the truth. I observe everything they do and, in a few seconds, it changes my mood. I become obnoxious and intractable. A few nights ago a friend of hers had a pair of fuchsia pink shoes, I swear I would never have bought them because they were too whimsical, yet, when I saw them for her, I became a hyena and I also told her about her. I really offended her telling her that at almost forty they didn’t seem adequate and that she must stop feeling like a girl. But I knew in my heart that I was just jealous that she had dared and I didn’t. I am an ugly person, I realize it, but believe me I live badly. Could you explain to me the nature of this jealousy and advise on a way to avoid suffering like this?
Marinella Cozzolino’s answer
Dear Letizia, I understand you all right. All the emotions that we consider denied are first for ourselves before they are for our relationships. The first thing, however, that strikes me from your words is the fact that you speak of jealousy, without giving the right name to the emotion you feel. The one that grips your stomach and makes you feel anger towards your friends it is not jealousy, but envy.
It is envy, not jealousy
Using jealousy to describe yourself maybe it makes you feel less wrong and it gives you, in the very sense of giving yourself more chance to justify yourself. After all, jealousy is part of love, of the attention we have for the other, of the fear we have of losing him / her. This is not the case though. Envy is not in itself a bad thing. It means wanting something someone else has without necessarily wanting that person bad.
What is envy
To envy it may be the urge to emulate, not to destroy. Unfortunately very often envy brings only and exclusively negative things, feelings of anger and aggression. She said it Indro Montanelli: if an Italian sees another Italian with a very expensive car, he does not think he would like to buy one too, but how to destroy it.
Envy is more widespread among women, indeed, it seems that among women it finds its fertile ground.
The competition begins in the family
Envy, a lot often, it is learned in the family, it is part of a family lexicon: your sister is always studying, you are a listless person, look at what a handsome boy your cousin has, my niece has the highest grades in school. The competition begins in the family and comes from the envy of mothers and grandmothers towards their sisters considered more fortunate. You live by aggressive envy instead of using it as a cue to “copy” and grow. In short, we are often educated and raised as rivals and antagonists.
What happens between sisters
The greatest envy is between sisters (much less happens between male brothers, almost not at all), then it can even affect the mother towards the daughter considered more fortunate. Envy and this type of antagonism are feminine since the women still have a very deep and atavistic sense of inferiority. They have, certainly more than men, need to prove their greatness. It is for this reason that the other one, the better one than me, hinders me and creates big problems for me. This is why it “must be destroyed”.
School, another generator of envy
Even the school teaches a competitiveness that is never a fascination for the other, but a desire for destruction and revenge. It happens for the continuous comparisons, because children are still, unfortunately, only the extension and expression of the parents’ wishes, because they are their self-esteem. If a girl or a boy fails at school, often the mother is worried (very often, not always obviously) about the fool she makes with her family members with her mother-in-law, her sisters-in-law, her own sisters that she will begin to envy. The important thing to know and think about is that we never envy someone because she has fuchsia shoes, a beach house, or a handsome boyfriend. Some people are envied only for their way of life, of being in the world. For the ability they have to wear fuchsia shoes without creating any problems.
We need to transform envy into inspiration
However, the good news is that envy can also be emulation. Emulating means taking a cue, observing friends and letting yourself be charged by their determination, by the energy they put into the things they do andtry to bring this beauty back into our life. Getting our hands dirty and struggling.
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