I love words. So much. I love their nuances, and they can be so similar, and yet, have enough difference to put an entirely different flavor onto things.
The past week, I have had a talk several times about three words and their differences:
I thought I would write about this today, in my effort to keep up my daily writing.
First, I’ll start with actual, you know, dictionary definitions.
- a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
- feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.
- feeling or showing suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship.
- fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions.
- demanding someone’s total attention and love.
- showing a desire to own things.
For jealousy and possessiveness, I identify with the third and second definitions respectively.
In relationships, I specifically feel that jealousy is not just feeling fiercely protective:
- capable of or intended to protect someone or something.
- having or showing a strong wish to keep someone or something safe from harm.
but also includes a sort of fear that something will disappear, or not longer be theirs.
Now, I’m not the only one who adds this caveat into the formal definition. Many people I have read and spoken to believe that jealousy is a fear-based response.
But possessive… That’s a word more often used negatively, as in the first definition. But I mean the second, and even more, I mean something more like this thought pattern:
I own this. This is mine. I am proud of this. I like to show this off. I like to share this with others, because it is mine. I like others to take joy from this, and know that they enjoy what is mine. I own this. MINE.
I call this possessive. Because I feel the same way (IN THIS CASE) about my lover as I do about my car, or my dog, or whatever.
If I own them, it is because I want them. And if someone else enjoys them (drives my car, plays with my dog), it does not lessen their value to me. In fact, it increases my pride that I own something I was able to share and spread joy.
So, I am very rarely jealous. I am sometimes envious. I am often possessive.
What words would you use in this case? Am I way off? Spot on? I’m curious about this.