#jealousy #envy #emotions
We can debate whether jealousy and envy are the same, but both can be negative, or positive, emotions.

We may be jealous if our significant other chooses someone else. But if our significant other chooses someone else, what can you do about it? It’s probably best not to be where one is not wanted, and move on.

Andrew Stark, in the Dec. 10, 2014, edition of The Wall Street Journal, reviewed the book “Jealousy,” by Peter Toohey. Stark says Toohey talks about jealousy among employees. Studies suggest, Stark quotes from the book, that workers feel pressure to fall short of expectation so as not to arouse the jealousy of their peers.

Is it really better to slack off a bit, so as not to stand out? If so, you may be working in the wrong place. Perhaps you really don’t want others to look bad, because you don’t want others to be jealous. Perhaps you don’t want to elicit envy by outperforming others. If you feel that way, remember that jealousy and envy are the emotions of others. Just as with a significant other, it may be best not to stay where you are not wanted.

Conservatives in the media talk a lot about the evils of wealth envy. With wealth envy, one wishes ill on others who have more than they. There are a couple ways to look at this. If those of whom one is envious has gotten his wealth off the backs of, or at the expense of others, do you really want to be envious of him? Perhaps you’d rather be envious of the person of stronger moral character.

Secondly, envy of the wealthier person can be a strong motivator. If you want what that person has, perhaps you need to find a vehicle to get you closer to where that person is in resources. There are many such empowering vehicles through which people help others, and are rewarded for it. For one of the best, visit

As Stark points out, Toohey’s book says jealousy and envy can be, and often are, destructive emotions. But they can also serve as motivators.

The lessons here abound. If one uses emotions for the good, they can lead to advancement of circumstances, and of the person. If one uses emotions destructively, they can cause harm to others, and harm to those who feel them.

Many of us hope that we never let emotions get in the way of our progress. But we are not human if we don’t feel emotion. So, instead of making the effort NOT to feel something, use what you feel as a motivator, rather than a destroyer.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t THINK about how we feel. We should most definitely think about why we feel as we do, and how to channel those feelings most productively.

At the same time, we should let others channel their feelings as they believe best. We should not let our positive behavior decline because others may not like it. The most successful people have been outcasts, and one must determine that success is far more important than how others may feel about it.

Finally, the most success comes by helping others. If we help others be successful, to borrow from Zig Ziglar, our success will follow.

So if you are feeling jealous, don’t get mad. Move on. Or, be glad you have something to aim for. If you envy someone, do what you need to do to be more like him. In either case, be careful. Know that what you might be aiming for will be good for you, and for others.