The most humbling moment in a conversation with a guy often comes when your comments about another woman elicit raised eyebrows, and perhaps the sound of a mock meow.
Having crossed the line between lightweight cattiness and mean-spirited jealousy, you’ll swiftly backtrack with feigned girlish contrition.
After all -- stupidly -- you forgot that you weren’t talking to a woman.
In recent years, the ‘sisterhood’ has had to contend with the spread of women-on-women jealousy as a social norm. From Bridget Jones to Bridesmaids, there’s a popular expectation that we’ll envy one anothers’ perfect hair, houses and husbands.
“Jealousy among women is such a common phenomenon because of insecurities that are implanted when we are young. It is especially common in young females with so much emphasis placed upon body shape, beauty and dieting,” says clinical hypnotherapist David Samson.
In a recent blog post for HuffPost OWN, Christie Aschwanden, described how her best friend’s professional achievements left her feeling that she ‘didn’t deserve it’.
“Taking ownership of my envy helped me recognize that I needed to decide what kind of friend I was going to be: the backstabbing frenemy or the supportive confidant?”
While speaking to psychologists about her sense of envy, Aschwanden learned about two types of jealous: benign and malicious.
"Malicious envy is bitter and biting, driven by a need to make things equal, even if that means tearing another person down. Benign envy, on the other hand, has an aspirational aspect -- you think, "If she can do it, maybe I can, too," she says.
David Samson reminds us that it’s pointless to compare ourselves to other people.
“Compare and despair… You never really know what's going on in the other person's life. She might be beautiful but she may have just lost a baby. Choose to look at the thoughts you are having and see how negative they are.
"If you think, ‘That woman is so pretty I know my boyfriend would rather be with her' this is a painful and has no evidence. Challenge the thought and start to look for others that are more positive, such as 'That woman is very beautiful but my boyfriend is here with me'.”
"Jealousy is a symptom of an underlying issue of your own insecurity and fear. The question is of what?
She continues: "Isn't it a pity that in our society, jealousy - such a wonderful red flag - is suppressed or worse validated.
"In many cases... it's worn like a proud badge ~ 'I'm a jealous person'. It's like saying 'Yes, my insecurity is a great thing. I like to feed it and have no intention of solving it. In fact I prefer to criticise and oppress others to try and make it flourish better.'"
Here are 10 good reasons to stop and think about envy.