I like words. I enjoy finding the right word for a particular concept, even if admittedly I don’t always succeed. Certainly I consider the difference between envy and jealousy to be important, even when common usage makes it hard to determine what the meaning should be. In reality though it’s simple. Jealousy is felt over something you have, envy is felt over something you don’t have (but want).
Jealousy is talked about a lot in polyamory. It is considered to be a bad emotion. Uncontrollable jealousy, the inability to share someone you love would be fatal indeed to a polyamorous relationship. In reality though, a little jealousy can be handled, with care and communication. After all everyone is looking out for it and trying to control and tame it.
In comparison I’ve not yet seen any significant discussion of envy. It seems to me just as troublesome as jealousy in its own way. When someone you love has something you want, something you cannot share. That’s hard to deal with. I honestly don’t know how to work through that. Controlling your own envy of others is hard, but harder still, how do you help someone else? How do you reassure someone who is envious of your relationships? How do you make them feel better?
Playing down the value of what you have is one option, or hiding the cause of envy from them. Neither are options I see as helpful or healthy for anyone.
What does that leave I wonder?