Envy through the eyes of a psychotherapist – why envy is dangerous
Envy is a feeling that is customary to condemn, hesitate and hide from everyone. But there are no bad feelings. They all warn us about important things. What is envy, what does it signalize and how to make it your assistant?
Let’s turn to history. In the Old Russian language, the word “envy” appeared in the 11th century. The verb “to envy”, from which the word came, meant “to see in the distance, to contemplate”, “to look unkindly”.
In Ozhegov’s dictionary, we found the following definition of envy.
ENVY is a feeling of annoyance caused by the well-being, success of another. Look at something with envy. Out of envy to do something. Black envy (deep and vicious).
What is envy
There are at least two “shades” of envy – “white” and “black”. And if “white” envy is often voiced, then a taboo is imposed on “black” by the society. What is the difference?
“White” envy is “trying on” the success of other people on oneself and the absence of negative feelings. “Black” envy is a constant torment that pushes a person to certain actions.
“White” envy passes on its own and quickly, but it is extremely difficult to get rid of “black” envy.
It is easy to transform “white” envy into constructive action. You just need to believe that you can do it, and you will begin to take concrete steps towards what you want and will also achieve this. And “black” envy is aimed only at destruction.
It is interesting! A study by a group of Dutch scientists led by Dr. Wilco van Dijk showed that envy turns black when a person and the object of his envy are of the same sex. There is no such dependence in relation to representatives of the opposite sex.
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The psychotherapist’s opinion
Today we want to take a deeper look at what ENVY is, and a psychiatrist, psychotherapist will help us with this. Olesya Vladimirovna Nosenko.
Take our test: TEST-time! Pick a bag and find out why others envy you
Bologny: Olesya, hello. Let’s start with the main thing, what is envy, from the point of view of psychology?
Olesya: In simple words, envy is an unpleasant feeling of a person caused by displeasure at the well-being and achievements of others.
Bologny: What most often motivates a person to be jealous of other people? Who is most often jealous of?
Olesya: Most often, a person is stimulated to envy by low self-esteem. When he is dissatisfied with his life, has no personal achievements or devalues them. In such cases, any successes, material and emotional benefits of other people provoke envy.
Bologny: How to distinguish envy from desire?
Olesya: Envy is a desire to get what another has and to regret that you do not have it. If you remember why you had this or that desire, then, most likely, you will understand that it was supported by envy of the person with whom you wanted to synchronize, i.e. become like him. We all feel jealous, even if we hide it from ourselves. Our desires hide envy beneath them.
Bologny: We can say that envy is a negative in its structure a feeling, in other words, that envy is always bad?
Olesya: Feeling jealous is considered a bad feeling, according to most people, but in reality it is not. It all depends on what the person who is experiencing it does. Envy makes people want something and strive for it, improve their lives, reach new heights. This feeling stimulates and motivates to action and activity.
Bologny: Is envy dangerous, and if so, how?
Olesya: There is also a negative form of envy, destructive, when a person does nothing for self-realization. Such people are in constant irritation and anxiety, in a negative state, which can lead to depression, dark obsessive thoughts.
Bologny: How to recognize that a person is jealous of you and how to protect yourself from this?
Olesya: Such a person shows hatred towards you without objective reasons, gossips about you, shows you false joy and attention while you are around, rejoices at your failures, especially behind your back, often competes with you, belittles your successes and exaggerates his merits, imitates to you. Try not to go into conflict, use a sense of humor more often, admire the success of the envious person, listen more than speak.
Bologny: Can happy people be jealous?
Olesya: Of course they can, but we continue to live and strive for the best. For example, I have not seen an absolutely happy person.
Bologny: Is female envy different from male envy?
Olesya: Women are more emotional than men, so their envy is often destructive both for themselves and for the object of envy.
Bologny: How to transform envy into something good?
Olesya: The primordial understanding of envy is when a person feels annoyed at the success of another. But you can transform it into the “I want it” category. If you keep track of your desires in this way, then it will not be envy. In this case, we can mentally thank the person: “It’s great that you have it, I realized that I want it too. You gave me my next wish. ” This is the way out of jealousy. As soon as we start thinking this way, this is no longer “white” envy, it is an opportunity to see that your desire is available, since another has it.
For example, you work as a teacher and your colleague was presented with a ticket to a concert at the trade union committee. You can get upset about this, think: “What a pity that they didn’t give me a ticket, I would like to go too” – it will be “white” envy. You might think: “She is generally unworthy of this gift, let the concert be bad” – this is “black” envy. And if you say: “How cool, I want it too. How did you manage that? I would also like to be given a ticket, we would go with you together ” – there is no envy at all. Many people regard the latter as “white” envy, but it is not.
Bologny: Please give advice to our readers for the prevention of envy. How should they be so as not to envy others?
Olesya: Work on yourself, develop. Look for the positive even in the smallest things.
It is interesting! Psychologists Nicole Henniger and Christine Harris of the University of California, USA conducted a study to find out how age affects the expression of envy. To do this, they interviewed about 2,000 people between the ages of 18 and 80.
Young people to a large extent envied the appearance and success in the personal life of their peers. But with age, envy of other people’s material well-being and a successful career is more often observed. Among the youngest respondents, 28% experienced it, while among the survey participants over 50 years old, it turned out to be about 40%.
How to get rid of envy
The easiest way to overcome jealousy is to spot the good things in your life on a daily basis. You need to determine what advantages you have from the success of others.
This technique is very useful for developing gratitude – an antidote to envy.
How to make envy your helper:
- Admit to yourself that you are jealous. As long as you deceive yourself that you are indifferent to someone else’s car (finances, career, etc.), you will not be able to change the situation. By admitting to yourself that you are jealous, you will become stronger and maintain a good relationship with the object of envy.
- Use the energy of envy in the right direction – to achieve the desired goal.
- Determine your strengths. Develop and improve what you already have. Then you can be successful in your field.
- The basis of success is not luck and luck, but work and effort on the way to your goal.
After all, our current achievements are what we used to envy. Probably, it is envy that gives the first impetus for action, the achievement of goals that we consider impossible.
But before that, be sure to answer the question: “Do I need what I envy so much?”
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There is an interesting parable about this.
One righteous man died. And he ended up in paradise. Accompanied by an angel, he went through the golden gate to the right place.
A person looks around: the sun is shining, beautiful nature, birds are singing, happy people are walking everywhere.
Then he asked the angel: “And you can at least look out of the corner of your eye – how do people live in hell?“
The angel agreed, opened the door to purgatory for him.
The person looks around and does not understand anything. Around the same beautiful nature, the same singing of birds and the gentle sun. But people walk around sad, some even cry.
– Angel, what’s the matter? It’s the same here as in paradise. But why do people feel so bad here?
– They were told that paradise is better than theirs.
The meaning of the parable is simple: you should focus more on yourself, your feelings and invest in your life and self-development. And the successes of others should only be an impetus for new achievements.
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