We have all been envious in our lives. Someone might have a better toy, better car, better house or even a better life. Envy has never been a good feeling since we always wonder why we don’t have the good stuff. We wonder about the fairness of the world when we seem to be the unfortunate people lacking the things we need to be happy.
Envy can also be a dangerous feeling since it can make us do stupid things, some things we regret afterwards. When we are envious, we want things for ourselves. If we cannot get it, we don’t think other people deserve it either. Therefore, we take certain measures so nobody has it. We’ve all known about kids who break toys because they don’t like the fact that they don’t own one themselves.
A large reason why envy is seen as a negative feeling is due to the values we have in our society. What do we emphasis in our society? What is used to measure one’s value and success in life? The answers to these two questions dictates whether envy is good or bad. Of course, envy, like everything else in life, is never good in too large of a quantity.
In our society, we associate successful people with large houses, many expensive vehicles, a few yachts and basically afford anything with their incredible amounts of money. In a sense, one’s success is directly proportional to the amount of money one can earn and amass. That’s why most of us are envious of the billionaires while we are disgusted with the poor and the homeless.
This was more or less how I was raised by my parents. I was told that, by going to school, I can land a solid job that will provide me a reasonably high income. This income will allow me to afford all the things I wanted in life so I have nothing to worry about. All I needed was proper education and a good job to reach the pinnacle of life.
Along the way, I was envious of other kids. My family wasn’t particularly wealthy so we cannot afford all the fun things. While other kids had fun, I was left out because I didn’t “fit” in. The envy I felt was making me bitter. I grew bitter towards my parents, my situation and society as a whole. I hated the thought that other kids were so much better off.
As I grew older, I’ve reached an age where I should be capable of living independently. Luckily for me, I got to live at home. Given the financial situation of my parents, I still had to work part-time to make some money on the side and gain experience. I was envious of others who didn’t have to work at all at school. I was also envious when they seem to live the lives I always wanted. A carefree life filled with fun and joy. That seemed like the ideal life for me.
Envy has blinded me from what matters in life because I only desired the lifestyle of other people. First, we all live different lives so it’s not feasible trying to be like others. Secondly, I learned that people put up facades when they are in the public or on social media. The more envy I had within me, the more negative I become and that negativity is only further fueled by the numerous setbacks I encountered along the way.
It’s true that envy can be a good thing where it can drive us towards a dream. We might be envious of a role model who happened to be famous. The desire to be like them allow us to persevere through all the challenges until we reached where they are at. Yet, people react differently to desires and, for most people, envy adds more negativity than positivity in their lives.
Where do I stand now? I don’t think I’m as envious of others as before. I’m still human so this feeling does arise now and then. However, I’ve reached a point where I realized that all this envy is getting me nowhere. After all, the things I want can only be acquired by my own hands. And what I desire aren’t things other people can readily acquire without sacrifice. Things I’ve been envious so far aren’t going to give me happiness or fulfillment.