Last week many of my friends were traveling, going to beautiful places on Spring Break. The most common response I noticed to their beautiful photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: “I’m so jealous!” I am left to wonder if they are truly envious or jealous?
I’ve written before about choosing our words in a softer way. Maybe you are thinking this is about grammar. It’s about something more. It’s about the power in your words.
The word jealous has become so acceptable that we have slang for it, “I’m so jelly!” When I see that word, I wonder if the person who typed it is truly resentful of what their friend has that they don’t. Are they fearful? Worried that they their friend has an advantage they do not have? Goodness, I hope not. I don’t want to be resentful of my friends and loved ones. And I don’t want them to be resentful of me.
Or maybe they are envious. Perhaps it’s as simple as that they desire to have what their friend has. They envy a trip to the islands, but are not jealous of it. They envy your new car but don’t begrudge you for having it.
Here’s the rub for me: I’m okay with my friends being envious, of wishing they could go where I go or eat what I eat or whatever…and I would hope most often they would like to join me in doing whatever it is that has piqued their interest. And likewise, I am often envious of the wonderful joys my friends share on social media. But I’m not jealous because they are people I care about, those who I love. I want to be thrilled for them, not jealous of their joys.
The next time you are tempted to leave a comment on social media that says, “I’m SO jealous,” would you take a moment and consider softening your words? It’s okay to wish you had what others have and to also be happy for them. That’s envy. But it takes away your power and squelches the love in your life when you use words like jealous. It’s perfect okay to be softer with your words.
How to Avoid Competing With/Being Jealous of Friends from MindBodyGreen
Why Social Media Makes Us Bitter from Forbes
For my fellow WordNerds, a read from Motivated Grammar on Jealousy and Envy