Envy: myths and truth

According to dictionaries, Psychologists who work with hundreds of clients and study many complexes and problems know that everyone can feel envy, and although most people tend to envy material well-being, there are those who experience this feeling in relation to someone else’s appearance, talents, personal life and even habits. However, no matter what is the subject of envy, the habit of envy does not bring any benefit, moral satisfaction or happiness. Let’s take a closer look at why jealousy is bad.

Psychologists, religious leaders, and ordinary people agree that envy is a destructive phenomenon that should be excluded from social and emotional life. But popular myths about envy and the fight against it appear in the popular media and interviews with famous people with enviable consistency. Of course, each of us at least once heard these myths, many even tried to be guided by them in the fight against their vices, but they could not get rid of the habit of envy. Let’s take a closer look at these myths. 

Myth #1: There is bad black envy and harmless white envy.

Righteousness: there is no harmless envy, since this phenomenon in all its manifestations is destructive and harmful. People who say that they are jealous of “white” envy are simply trying to calm their conscience and get rid of guilt. Speaking in this way, they convince themselves that they envy, but in a kind way, so their vice is harmless. But you need to understand that the very feeling of disappointment due to the success of another person is harmful to the emotional well-being and psyche of an envious person. It doesn’t matter how jealous it is.

Myth #2: Envy pushes for self-development and self-improvement.

Righteousness: a person’s self-development, no matter how trivial it may sound, is driven by the desire to develop and grow as a person, and the right motivation helps to realize this desire. Envy, on the other hand, is a completely destructive phenomenon, therefore an envious person can mentally and aloud resent the success of others for hours and days, but will not take any measures to achieve anything. And the reason for this is simple: in order to become successful, a person must direct all his resources (including intellectual and emotional) to a constructive channel, and an envious person is full of anger and feelings of annoyance, and the brain is busy thinking about the unfairness of life and criticizing another person who has achieved success.

Myth #4: Thinking about your advantages and determining that the envious person is better than the envious person is the best way to beat envy.

Righteousness: the habit of comparing oneself with other people, in fact, is not much better than envy, and even more – it is from it that the roots of this vice grow. By comparing himself to another person and trying to determine his advantage over him, the envious person only “feeds” his envy, because instead of getting rid of it, he calms down with the help of his own superiority. As a result, instead of getting rid of envy, a person always convinces himself that in fact he is more beautiful / smart / kind than the one he envies.

Myth #5: Devaluing the object of envy is a simple and effective method of getting rid of feelings of frustration caused by the success of other people.

Righteousness: many psychologists advise envious people to think that envy is just a “facade”, “external manifestations of success” for which the person who is envious has sacrificed something significant. It is with this conviction that the roots of opinion acquire similarities with something like “beautiful people do not have high intelligence”, “a woman with a good high-paying job is unhappy with her personal life”, “all the rich are unscrupulous people” and so sorry. But this way of dealing with envy is not only useless, but also harmful, because through it a person programs himself for negative thinking. By weakening everything that causes envy, a person on a subconscious level inspires himself that material prosperity, beauty, a successful career are bad and unnecessary. In the future, it will be very difficult for an envious person to succeed, as the subconscious mind will resist all positive undertakings due to earlier assumptions. 

The roots of envy lie in the evaluation and hierarchical system that everyone uses to some extent. In the case when a person, comparing himself with other people, evaluates himself “lower”, he begins to feel irritation and jealousy, because he subconsciously (or consciously) wants to be “higher” from the point of view of his own hierarchical system. Getting rid of envy is quite possible, but for this a person needs to completely change his worldview and attitude towards social roles and social hierarchy.

The only way to get rid of envy is to restore adequate self-esteem and And this can be achieved with the following recommendations: 

1. Limit contact with people who tend to criticize you and impose feelings of guilt. Everyone has at least one friend who loves to teach everyone and tell others why they live wrong. Associating with such people can lead to low self-esteem, guilt towards others for your “wrong” lifestyle, and as a result, envy of more “right” people. There are many ways to get rid of guilt, so each person can quickly eliminate the consequences of dealing with manipulators and critics and restore the psyche.

2. Get rid of the belief in a “just world.” All beliefs in the “justice of the world” are inherent in the belief that all good people should be rewarded by higher powers, and bad people should be punished. And, of course, they consider themselves “good.” In fact, we cannot say that the world is completely unjust, but there is clearly no division into “good and bad” in it, since there is no reward for “good”. Therefore, you need to get rid of faith in “higher justice” as soon as possible in order to stop waiting for gifts from heaven and take your life into your own hands.

3. Always wish people well and rejoice in the success of others. When you hear about the success of another person, you need to try to put yourself in his place, imagine his joy and feel positive emotions. This simple exercise will help you not only overcome jealousy, but also become a less selfish person, as it promotes empathy and compassion. And, of course, it should be remembered that such an approach to a benevolent person will help treat all people equally, and not envy everyone.

4. Determine your true goals and desires. “Everyone has his own happiness,” say wise people, and psychologists agree with them. In fact, most of us don’t need a fancy car, a top model figure, or an advanced degree. It is the realization of what constitutes “personal happiness” that will help stop envying people who have achieved success in one area or another. Therefore, the best way to permanently get rid of the habit of comparing yourself with others and envying more successful people is to understand what exactly brings you pleasure and what exactly you want to do.

5. Take for granted the fact that each person has his own way of life, and success and failure are the consequences of his own choice along the way. No two judgments are the same, because each of us every day makes one or another choice, which in the future will bring certain results. Someone decides to devote himself to his family, someone wastes most of his life, someone takes risks and starts new projects, and someone prefers a quiet life and a stable job. Everything that is in a person’s life is a consequence of his decisions and actions, and envy is meaningless, because no benefits fall on people from heaven. So instead of envying a more successful friend, think about the choices you need to make in order to be successful and happier yourself. 

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