Thursday, December 30, 2010

Envy...ever felt it?

Envy (also called invidiousness) is best defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."[1]

Envy can also derive from a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been he or she who had the desired object.[2][3]

Bertrand Russell said envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.[4] It is a universal and most unfortunate aspect of human nature because not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by his envy, but also wishes to inflict misfortune on others. Although envy is generally seen as something negative, Russell also believed that envy was a driving force behind the movement towards democracy and must be endured to achieve a more just social system.[5]

So today I was thinking about a time in highschool where this girl who liked my boyfriend became very envious of me. I didn't know why, I was a normal girl in a normal highschool relationship. She started asking me where I got things like my purse or my outfits and started trying to work where I worked and just became almost like obsessed. It was weird, but I understand when people are very unhappy with their lives and they want what someone else has, their envy for that can become oddly obsessive. We all envy others, of course, but there is definitely degrees of envy. Maybe you are single and you envy your friend's marriage. That is the type of envy that isn't bad, it just shows your goals- one day you want to be happily married. Or maybe you have an uber successful friend and you envy her career and hope one day to be that successful. Those are things that are natural. When it becomes weird is when you follow someone around or track them down, you try to become just like them. You change your whole life to model theirs thinking it will make you happier. This type of envy creates lies and unhappiness and just isn't healthy.

I am super happy. I am very happily married to a kind, successful man, super successful in my career, have an amazing group of family and friends, a beautiful home and a lot to be thankful for. Do I have it all? Of course not, no one does and life is definitely not always easy.  Do I wish I was a sz 2 supermodel- sure of course, that would be awesome. Do I wish we were rich? sure, again would be awesome. Do I wish it was super easy for us to have a baby? Sure do! Would I trade my life? Of course not, I love my family, I don't want anyone else's life but my own. The point is, be happy with what you have and who you are. Make your goals your own. I believe you have to have a plan. Map out your life goals, know what you need to do to get there and be yourself, don't try to be someone else.

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