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This week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions is part of this autumn’s series of episodes on the topic of friendship. Jealousy and envy are natural emotions, and yet we often feel very uncomfortable admitting that we feel this way, while reacting in ways that are potentially destructive to the friendship or draining to our self-esteem. I explain the difference between jealousy and envy, examples of how they play out in friendships, and what these feelings are there to help us notice so that we can move forward from a place of love, care, trust and respect.

Jealousy and envy highlight our perceptions about the order of life: when we think things should happen and to who. Natalie Lue, Baggage Reclaim podcastSome nuggets from the episode:

  • When we claim to “pride ourselves” on not being, for instance, jealous or envious, it’s important to consider what we’re going out of our way to portray ourselves as and, as a result of that, what does this stop us from authentically being or doing? What we deny seeps out in other, far more destructive ways.
  • Jealousy has the marker of feeling territorial, this sense of ownership. We feel under threat.
  • Envy has the component of comparison in it even though we may not be consciously aware that this is what it stems from. We experience discontentment and a sense of ‘awayness’ because we pick up a similarity or even what we perceive as our superiority and wonder why we don’t have it.
  • Sometimes we envy people, not because they’re being, doing or having what we want, but quite simply because it’s like they’re flagging up a signifier of success and we automatically assume that we’re failing.
  • “Jealousy and envy highlight our perceptions about the order of life: when we think things should happen and to who.”

  • Women are socialised to compete with each other. It’s as if there’s a limited amount of looks, grades, love, men, women etc., and we’re also supposed to fight to win. It creates a zero sum game mentality, so it’s no wonder that we find ourselves feeling away about our friend’s happiness even when we don’t want to. It’s no wonder that sometimes we behave in ways that are not conducive to the health and wealth of the friendship.
  • Sometimes jealousy is a call for us to recognise how we’ve taken a friendship for granted. We’re sitting there feeling jealous that our friend is out having fun when we’ve been uber busy, for instance. It’s as if we expect our friend to put their life on hold, and our jealousy can be the much-needed boot for us to recognise how much we value the friendship and show up.
  • ‘Hate following’, so following someone online even though they bring up all sorts of unpleasant feelings or we’re actively hating on them, is something that people do in real life too. It’s like a ‘hate friendship’ and it’s not healthy. Where we spend our energy matters, so investing it in actively disliking and judging someone is a drain on our bandwidth.

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