A recent visit to an old friend’s beautiful new home triggered a brief moment of envy for me. While I was extremely happy and proud of his accomplishment in creating such a lovely home, with so much care and detail, I also found myself longing for something similar in my life, instead of the present rental that we have. But, more importantly, I thought about how envy has occasionally motivated me to succeed and how I wonder if the same thing is happening to the present generation. Is envy a good thing?
To be very clear, I believe there’s a huge difference between envy and jealousy. Envy is not necessarily a bad thing, while jealousy is almost always bad. You can envy someone’s success, possessions, friends, or family, while still feeling positive towards him or her. Jealousy tends to have a component of dislike and negativity to it, directed at the person who has those things of which you’re jealous. Also, jealousy is usually directed towards a person vs. possessions or other qualities, as in being jealous of the attention your spouse receives from someone else.