People I see in my Los Angeles psychotherapy practice frequently talk about jealousy. People have assumptions about this state of mind, and as a result often feel bad for this experience. Because of course, who likes being envious of what someone else says, does, or has? Envy can bring out the worse in us, making us say or think things hurtful to ourselves and the people we care about. But the cause of envy isn’t always clear, it’s not always about us directly, many times it’s about the other person’s experience.
People stimulate envy in us. While you might think the envy you are feeling is about you, it could be more about the interior dynamic of the person you are conversing with. People who stimulate envy in others are insecure about something and stimulate envy to feel better about themselves. It’s not always easy to see. People who stimulate envy don’t usually make it obvious; it’s a hidden dialogue occurring in the conversation.
While it’s impossible to control someone trying to stimulate envy, it is possible to control how you respond to their stimulation. When you feel envy slow your thoughts down to decipher if the envy is actually yours. Consider what specifically you feel envy about, is this topic something you’ve felt jealous about on other occasions? Also, consider whether or not you have a need to stimulate envy. This will help you understand better when you are being stimulated. It will also give you insight as to the types of barriers being placed in your relationships. Envy feels bad, so it actually keeps people away and limits the genuine experiences between people. Don’t judge your need to stimulate envy, just take note of it and remember it comes from a place of insecurity. Being hard on yourself while you are feeling insecure is the last thing you need. It’s a time for respect and gentleness, so try your best to feel that way about yourself.