Envy and jealousy are characterised by the desire for what another person has.  They are often confused because of how closely connected they are.  Both feel unpleasant, to varying degrees, for the one who experiences either of them.  They are however, a common experience for many people.

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Envy and jealousy are thought to be negative feelings because they entail coveting, or desiring what another has.  In a biblical sense, this is framed as a sin, and therefore, most people view such feelings as wrong and bad.  Neither envy or jealousy feel good, and jealousy is likely to feel worse and be more harmful to the one who experiences it, and possibly even to the one who is the source of the jealousy.  This hints at the difference between them.

 

If you envy someone, you want what they have but do not wish them ill, you may even admire them and feel discontented in yourself for not having what they do.  Sometimes people will even say things like “I really envy you” which can be said and received as a compliment.

 

Although both imply the desire for what another person has, jealousy involves some other unpleasant feelings, for example, bitterness, resentment, and sometimes hostility toward the person who has what you want.   Thus, if you are jealous of someone , you would wish to take what they have away from them, for yourself.  This is where the important distinction lies – jealousy is malicious.

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