Essays About Jealousy: Top 11 Examples and Writing Prompts

Jealousy is an undesirable yet persistent feeling throughout our lives; if you want to write essays about jealousy, read the essay examples and writing prompts featured in our guide.

It is only human to envy what others have from time to time: their money, house, and relationships. However, there is only so far you can go until jealousy becomes toxic and detrimental to your well-being. We must control our jealousy, stop thinking of others’ fortune, and focus on ourselves. 

Despite its negative effects, jealousy is an intrinsic feeling in humanity, inspiring writers, artists, and directors throughout the centuries. This feeling is at the core of some of the most fantastic literature of all time: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

You can start by reading these examples to write insightful essays about jealousy. 

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1. Jealousy Is a Wasted Emotion by Joshua Fields Millburn

“The easiest way to turn jealousy off is to stop questioning other people’s intentions. We often get jealous because we think a person meant one thing by their actions, when they meant something totally different. And the truth is that you’ll never know someone’s real intent, so it’s a waste of time to question it.

In his essay, Millburn writes about how to avoid jealousy and its adverse effects. It enforces standards in which we all try to be a certain way, free from individuality, and is terrible for people’s emotional health. But unlike most other emotions, we can “turn it off.” Millburn says we should stop being so critical of others’ intentions and give them the benefit of the doubt. 

2. Listen to What Your Jealousy Is Telling You by Vivian Nunez

“But I’ve slowly made peace with the fact that my jealousy will always be a part of me. I’ve started finding solace in this envy. Lately, for example, I’ve been feeling jealous of those who have childhood homes they can go back to. I wish my boyfriend and I and our dog could go see my mom and have her fold us into her home while we figured out the next steps of our lives.”

Nunez takes a different approach to jealousy in this essay; rather than trying to purge it, she writes that we should let it guide us as with all other emotions. We are only human, after all. According to her, jealousy is a reflection of our most vulnerable side, and we should not try to purge it if we want to be healthy. Nunez gives examples from her childhood in which ignoring her jealousy affected her badly.

3. Jealousy, envy are reflections of insecurity by John Stathas

“If envy is your problem, examine what is that all about.  What is missing in your life that causes you to envy something of another? What in you needs to be added or shored up? A healthy person does not allow envy to sully one’s soul.”

In a way echoing the statements of Nunez, Stathas discusses how jealousy reveals one’s fear, insecurity, and anxiety. However, he believes jealousy and envy can ruin your life if left unchecked. One possible solution is talking to the person inciting such jealousy and asking for reassurance; however, this is not for everyone, and it can be enough to focus on oneself merely. 

4.  Lenten reflection -How envy hurts us by James Sano

“It is interesting that other sins promise at least some sort of short-term returns to us, but envy offers none.  Envy can corrode our hearts, weaken our minds, and destroy our peace.  It only brings sadness and anger, and we lose our orientation towards Christ, who died of self for love of others.  Envy is the opposite of love, as true love is an unconditional willing of the good for another. ‘Love your neighbor, as yourself.’”

Sano writes his essay from a religious perspective, discussing jealousy in the context of the Bible and sin. Jealousy or envy is a toxic trait that makes us unhappy about others’ achievements and is considered a grave sin. Sano gives some examples of parables about envy and writes that if we learn to love others as we love ourselves, we can get rid of the envy in our hearts. 

5. ​​Why I Refuse to Be Jealous of My Partners’ Exes by Nancy Einhart

“When I see people consumed by jealousy about their partners’ pasts, I feel bad for them. Jealously doesn’t make your relationship more stable or build trust in your relationship; in fact, it can erode trust in a poisonous way. So resolve to fight your jealous instinct, because your life will be fuller without it, and you might even make a friend along the way.”

In her essay, Einhart details possible reasons for her to be jealous and why she actively rejects jealousy in her life. Rather than being jealous of her partner’s relationships with his exes, she is grateful that these people made her partner into who he is today. She also recalls her divorced parents’ friendship with each others’ exes or new partners, as well as her friendship with her ex-boyfriend’s wife. Jealousy is a waste of time and energy that could better be directed toward strengthening a relationship. 

Writing Prompts on Essays about Jealousy

1. What Is Jealousy? 

An excellent essay to write can talk about your thoughts on jealousy. First, define jealousy, then reflect on your experiences with this feeling and what it means to you- when have you been jealous before? How did it make you feel? You can also briefly touch on its causes and effects, but do not go too in-depth. Do not base your essay on the experiences of others; it should reflect your own experiences. 

2. What Causes Jealousy?

Essays about Jealousy: What causes jealousy?
Your essay can examine why people may be jealous and how they relate to one another

From happy relationships to a new car to outstanding academic achievements- there are many possible causes of jealousy. Your essay can examine why people may be jealous and how they relate to one another. If you wish, give examples of instances in which others were jealous for reasons mentioned in your essay. 

3. How Jealousy Can Affect Your Mental Health

Most of the time, jealousy is destructive to one’s mental health. Research on the adverse effects of jealousy: in what ways can jealousy hinder you? Write about how jealousy can affect your well-being and give concrete examples. Be sure to cite credible sources, as this topic has been the subject of much research. 

4. How Can You Control Your Jealousy?

Since jealousy affects your mental health negatively, it is essential to be able to resist or at least control it. Your essay can advise readers on regulating jealousy or keeping it from consuming you. Read the essay examples above for different perspectives on jealousy and how to respond to it. 

5. Jealousy in Literature and Popular Culture

As stated previously, jealousy is a theme in many famous works of literature. Choose a novel, play, movie, or television program in which jealousy plays an important role. Explain how jealousy is present and how it impacts the plot and characters. Cite quotes from your chosen work for a more solid evidence base in your essay. 

6. Your Experience with Jealousy

It is only human to feel jealous from time to time. Write about an experience where you were jealous of something or someone- do you regret it? Reflect on this experience, retell the story, and explain how you felt: what or who were you jealous of? Would you do anything differently now? Answer these questions for an engaging and inspiring essay.

Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays. If you’re still stuck, check out our available resource for essay writing topics.

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  • Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.