Jealousy and envy are strong emotions that focus on the self. Envy is a powerful feeling of longing for what belongs to someone else, and jealousy is an aggressive or vindictive desire to protect or take what we yearn for away from the person who has it. We often experience guilt or shame for having these self-centered feelings, and sometimes even the embodiment of these emotions—how they physically make our bodies feel—is unpleasant. But these are natural feelings that are not bad in and of themselves: they are important signals about where our attention and attitude are focused. When we act on these feelings unexamined, we can cause great harm to our relationships and ourselves. But when we instead pause to look at what gratitude our envy is ignoring or what fear our jealousy is masking, we can use these feelings as powerful motivators for reorienting ourselves toward inner peace and stability.
I’m the first to admit that for many years, I was a bit emotionally needy. Not in a crazy, desperate way, but in the way that many of us are. I wanted someone else to make me happy, blamed others for my unhappiness, sought to fulfill my emotional needs through others.