1.a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
“she felt a twinge of envy for the people in the room”
Aristotle describes envy “as the pain caused by the good fortune of others”. While Immanuel Kant describes envy as “a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others”.
We are all envious of someone and something. We’re humans in nature, but why does it have to cause so much anger, hate, resent, suspicion, and sadness for people. Why can’t we all appreciate each others journey? Why can’t we learn from their success? Really though, why do we have to feel envious?
Envy is greed, the desire for something possessed or displayed by another person and the dissatisfaction that you don’t have what they do. Jealousy is a little different, jealousy is of the things you want to keep. A jealous spouse is jealous because they want to keep him/her to them self. Marilyn Monroe posed nude for a magazine (with the condition that Elizabeth Taylor would not appear anywhere in the magazine) to gain fame after Elizabeth Taylor earned more money and spotlight in her role as Cleopatra. If one of the most beautiful women would be willing to fight that much for money, fame and attention. What was she missing from her life?
Did she enjoy her success? Did she not see her own worth? I’m sure she had enough money, but she focused so much on being the one and only, and eliminating her competition she ended up doing the opposite and looking extremely insecure. Maybe she used her beauty to mask a part of herself.
A theory on envy in human psychology says that envy has developed as part of our evolution, this gave us our competitive edge. Envy really is our motivating drive. If people were all the same had the same job, at the same level, had the same house, and the same wardrobe. There would be nothing worth working harder for, nothing to motivate us to achieve anything more than anyone else. Nothing that would make us unique, when we naturally crave expression. Envy helps us create who we are and who we become. Envy can really shape us as a person, and can be a good thing if you allow it to be.
Social media is where most envy is derived now a days. People post, present or perform their successes whether it be travelling, weddings, children, fitness and other achievements. This can be extremely depressing and dangerous for people with low self esteem lurking in sadness, wishing dreaming and feeling like there is no way to get there. Controlling envy would be ideal I suppose. If we could control those feelings of envy, let them motivate us but also encourage and motivate the people around us even if they grow above and beyond us. Because shouldn’t that be what we want for the people we love? and for ourselves? Sometimes I feel that people can diminish their success’ for the fear of looking like an “overachiever” or like you’re “trying to hard” but that’s your own fear holding you back. Maybe it’s the fear of not being able to maintain our achievements that hold us back.
Controlling envy would mean catching yourself in the midst of envy. We envy because we don’t see the big picture, we don’t realize everything else that entails. When we envy our friend for their weight loss success’, and in our head think “I wish they would just go back to being fat again.” We are ignoring all the work and sacrifices that friend put in to get there. Or someones major promotion seeming so glorious you think how did they even deserve that. But do you realize the time they have to spend in the office everyday, never having weekends, the stress involved, maybe unable to maintain a relationship. There are so many factors beyond the visual to consider. It is far too easy to forget that with “success” comes many challenges not usually highlighted next to the “success story”. In the end most “envy eats nothing but its own heart”. Most people dive so deep into envious cycles that they’re only hurting themselves.
Become your own envy! Love everything you do and do it with passion.