The Roots of Envy and How to Deal with It

Envy is one of the basic feelings that are transmitted from generation to generation. Psychologists are convinced that envy is one of the main sources of all wars and revolutions in the world. Psychology and religion do not define envy in black and white, it is not an exceptionally bad or good feeling.

Among its advantages, one can identify a motivation for action. Many achievements and discoveries were made out of envy. It is also a good incentive for survival in the modern world, but, most importantly, you need to make sure there is no self-deception of happiness. For example, girls look at the models from glossy magazines and tend to want to look the same. They think that then they will be happy, and so they torture themselves with diets. But this is a road to nowhere.

The sharpest envy is felt when you’re 18 – 25 years old, when your personality is forming. At this time, having your own ideals is useful, but it should not be a pursuit of illusory happiness.

The negative side of envy lies in the fact that it causes many mixed feelings: injustice, inferiority, inadequate self-esteem, as well as annoyance, irritation, spitefulness, aggression and loss of one’s identity.

Envy can be:

  • short-term (more like a vexation, for example, you have lost a chess match, so you envy your friend because they play better);
  • long-term (constant comparison with others, this is where the executioner and the victim meet in one person).

If a person feels long-term envy, most likely, there is inadequate self-esteem (in most cases, understated) and the loss of their “I.” This means that a person wants to be like others, but does not really think about whether it is necessary at all. You can devote your entire life to building a house like your neighbor’s, and then it will turn out that all these efforts were in vain, and you will realize that you would have been happy enough with just a flat.

The worst variant is malicious envy (“if I can’t have you, no one can!”), when it is possible to harm people (for example, “I will destroy my neighbor’s house, because I cannot build one like that myself”). Such envy exhausts the “I,” causes psychological fatigue and can lead to depression more quickly than any other feeling. Japanese scientists conducted an interesting experiment that proved that our brain reacts to envy as it does to physical pain.

Form an Adequate “I”

A person cannot simply live without envy, but the manner in which your envy will manifest, constructive or destructive, depends on your parents, on what kind of self-esteem they will help you form in your childhood. From the age of three, when the child begins to feel like a person, one must already form their adequate self-esteem. This means: praise, scold or encourage them in accordance with a specific situation. Then, the person will develop an adequate “I” and normal feelings, which they can control.

If an adult is constantly feeling jealous, they should self-develop. This can be done in individual or in group sessions, trainings, classes in sports sections or viewing the right movies. That is, you need to look for yourself and learn to adequately perceive yourself.

Listen to what you need. After all, for everyone, self-development must be individual (an important point is not to imitate others, but to do something that brings you pleasure and allows you to develop yourself). For some, it may be the study of physics, for others, spiritual development or better communication with their children.

Find more sources of joy. One of the best ways is art. No wonder they say that when a person dances, sings or draws, their soul opens. And do not forget to analyze your actions and ask yourself: “Do I need this?”

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