Jealousy and envy are character flaws. Most everyone has moments or decades of this flawed emotional experience. Jealousy and envy are loaded with negative energy. They are unhealthy cousins related by the common bond of insecurity. They are both bond breakers, in both romance and friendship. They even show up in the work place. Insidious devils art they!

Jealousy is an emotion that typically refers to negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over the possible loss of someone or something. It usually contains anger toward one who has the advantage. The jealous person feels inadequate. Perhaps depression is an outcome of such feelings.

Envy is a feeling of discontent or covetousness, which arises when another individual possesses some trait, success, or possession that a person wants. It usually reflects a sense of inferiority and frustration, sometimes even anger. This person longs to possess what another has. Here, too, depression can result from such feelings of impotence in the specific regard.

Since brain imaging is one of my intellectual pursuits, I found it interesting that a Japanese neuroscientist, Hidehiko Takahashi, found that envy activates the anterior cingulate cortex. This is the brain site where cognitive conflicts of social pain are processed. The stronger the emotion of envy the stronger the activation in this region of the brain. (Perhaps in a few years a person wondering if s/he is envious, or perhaps jealous, will go into Wal Mart, pay a fee to have his or her brain imaged, and come out with a picture portraying yea or nay to this emotional weakness.) This scientific proof may be helpful for those delusional folks who are in denial.

The key to healthy living is being self aware, as well as being tuned into what is going on around you with regard to relationships — romantic, friendship, or the work place. It is too easy to be oblivious and preoccupied while missing important aspects of your thoughts and feelings.

If the insecure feelings of jealousy seem present, check out what is going on. Why are you feeling that way? Perhaps some assertive, but respectful, communication is appropriate between you and the person that is eliciting such negative emotions. Perhaps you could open up a vulnerable side of yourself and ask for reassurance relative to the situation. If the relationship is solid you will get back what you need to alleviate these uncomfortable feelings.  If you are not reassured by the person involved, it may be time to make a change. Healthy relationships are reassuring, get rid of jealousy and create trust and security.

If envy is your problem, examine what is that all about.  What is missing in your life that causes you to envy something of another? What in you needs to be added or shored up? A healthy person does not allow envy to sully one’s soul.

Jealousy and envy, the nefarious duo, need to be destroyed by the powerful elixir of love. (One of the definitions of elixir is “a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely”).  Have a wonderful long loving life!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Dr. Stathas can be reached at Stathas@plantationcable.net. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. His blog: drstathas.com

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