Thursday, November 11, 2010

I am jealous of your envy.... (nerd alert)

I tend to be the type of person that follows the rules. Granted that the rules seem legitimate, and are probably in place for good reason. I don't have to always know the reason, but it helps. If I don't know the exact reason, and yet I can see some of the thinking behind a rule based on a need for guidance and structure, I can appreciate that as well.

When it comes to grammar, I feel like I follow the rules in some kind of priority order that I've made for myself. I may be the only one that understands it, and in most cases, that's ok with me. I overuse commas. And ellipses.... and I tend to create ellipses with more or less periods than what is formally required (3 periods). When I get comfortable I'm not a stickler on capitalization. However, there are some things I adhere strongly to. Two. Too. They're. There. Their. It's. Its. 

I love correct spelling, and I am not one to ever attempt to save time by abbreviating words that just look ridiculous to me. I like full words. I feel like I take myself and the world a little more seriously when I use them.

A good friend of mine recently corrected my use of the word jealous. We left the bar, and both took our separate trains home. Once he reached home, he texted me that he was home. I responded that I was jealous. Jealous is often used in these situations, and most people don't bat an eye about the misuse. People know what we mean. However, he explained to me that I was envious. Not jealous.


Being that he is a smart friend, I wanted to know what actually differentiate the two. He explained it well enough so that I understood the difference in practice. However, I wanted a more technical answer to my question. So, what did I do? I googled it. I came across some great information on Stanford's website. Of course, being Stanford, I had to actually look up some of the words they used in their explanation. But it made a lot of sense, and was exactly like my friend had explained, just in nerd language (even nerdier than he already uses).

Here's basically the breakdown. Jealousy has 3 parts. Envy has 2. Jealousy has you, another thing, and yet a third thing that you are actually feeling a loss of. Envy has you and the thing you're desiring or wishing. That is all.

So, when he got home, and I wanted to be home, I was envious, not jealous. I wanted to be home, but didn't feel a loss, because I wasn't home, and it didn't matter in general who was home. I was envious of all the people in the world that were home, and I was not.

Jealousy, however, is focused on something that we feel is being taken away by something else. So, something we feel like we 'have', our ownership is feeling threatened or questioned.

Let's you a people example. If myself and my partner were having issues in our relationship, and a third person were to seemingly be taking their attention away from me, and this upset me, I would be jealous. If that third person the following week becomes a different person, I would still remain in a jealous state.

The central focus being my partner, and the potential loss of that relationship.

However, if I was at a bar with my friend, and he gets a free drink, I could be envious. I'm not feeling like I'm losing anything that I felt like I 'had'. My emotion is directly tied to only something I wish I had gained.

Yes. I know, this is not nearly as humorous as some of the posts that you may start becoming accustomed to.

However, I believe I am doing society a favor by shedding light to yet another ignored subject manner.

(They're my favorite)

The morale of the story... is if you're secure enough in yourself, and create your own life, and future. You'll never have to worry about misuse of either of these terms. You will hopefully hardly ever need to use them!!

So, go out there... and just be happy.

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