what color is your envy


If envy is defined as wishing to be in someone’s place, is it a positive or negative force?

Some people say that envy could inspire you to set a goal and achieve it. Others say that it may harm you, making you chase unattainable or alien goals.

After our Friday discussion, I would like to share some ideas about envy. Here I go:

Whether envy is a positive or negative force in someone’s life depends on how much he has grown up, i.e. on whether he has found out who he is and what he wants to achieve in his life or he still depends, most often unconsciously, on other people to choose his identity and goals for him.

To a person who has built his own philosophy of life envy is positive and demonstrates that the person has retained his childhood ability to be surprised, impressed, fascinated. It shows that a person is not complacent with his identity and philosophy but is prepared to notice and respect diversity. Whenever a grown up person is fascinated and wishes for a moment to be in someone’s place, he proceeds to explore and assess the situation in order to find out what it is under the shiny surface. If he finds out that it’s worthy inside, he assesses his own philosophy and checks whether he would just stop at the stage of expanding his perspective in life and accepting another bit of diversity to respect in other people’s lives or he would be glad to accept it as a meaningful part of his own life, thus setting a new goal for himself, one that is in harmony with his own philosophy and abilities or one that seems to be superior, though quite at clash with one’s current philosophy, thus deciding that it’s worth altering his values and goals.

To a person who has not learned how to assess phenomena on his own, to give them a reality check rather than taking them at face value, envy could be a devastating force because such a person does not have clear goals and values and is easily induced by other people who suggest taking different courses in the voyage of life. Thus he is like a sailboat, directed by capricious winds and unlike a stable ship, which is propelled by a powerful engine and directed by a competent crew. Depending on his courage and confidence, an immature person is likely to take one of the following courses. A brave one will embark on chasing a goal which may eventually turn out not to make him happy when achieved because it was not really his heart’s goal. If brought up as a fighter, he might arrogantly strive for an unattainable goal, never doubting his ability to achieve everything. An immature person who lacks the confidence and courage to try will sit down wistful and frustrated. Of course, there are some among the brave ones who have the abilities to achieve what they have striven for and at reaching their goal discover that it actually makes them happy, but I, personally, have met few of these.

Drawing on my experience, I could say that envy is just like many other phenomena in our lives, so whether it is going to be positive or negative depends mostly on the specific situation.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by spicegirl on February 11, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    A lot of courage is needed so that one can fight their worst enemy – their own weak points! And if once they start changing themselves that means they’d become better and better and the more they know the more they change their expectations and wishes together with their previously view point that had made them have such a desision to change.As the previous lessen you quoted a master who told his students that “whoever has more knowledge he has more contact points with the unknown”.His previous criteria of good and bad changes with every learnt lesson and so changes the direction they go, again and again untill they get tired.The more once had experienced the less he wants to have. He starts wanting to be what he had been before but that’s impossible because the knowledge he’s obtained is too much. Then he is no more voluntarely changing but being forced to change.


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