Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

How envy destroys relationships

Envy is a very common human feeling. It is natural to covet things other people have. Sometimes envy works in our behalf, by making us more motivated and willing to achieve, but other times it paralyzes us, by making us waste energy in negative feelings that are detrimental to our well being.

For some reason, human beings feel more envious when someone close to them has something they don’t have. Sibling rivalry comes to mind, as well as friendships torn apart with envy when life hands people different cards. Who doesn’t have friends who like us more when we are down? Or who disappear when something amazing happens in our lives? Why don’t we envy Bill Gates more than our friend Bill who bought the new expensive car? Why do we envy our childhood friend who married this amazing guy more than the Hollywood celebrity who just got married? Simple: we envy what’s closest to us. Somehow, we think that we deserve the same our sibling, best friend or co-worker has, because we see ourselves as similar to them, in the same level. Celebrities are demi-gods, unattainable, unreachable and far “superior” to us. They deserve what they have because of their special intelligence, talent or beauty.

I have already talked here about how envy between couples is harmful for the marriage and is completely opposed to the idea that marriage is a partnership.

It takes practice and maturity to accept that life isn’t fair, that people achieve different things, and that we will always meet people who have nicer things than we do. It takes wisdom to keep that negative feeling at bay and to be able to be genuinely happy for the lucky ones. Also, remember that life is full of surprises: your successful friend may one day have setbacks, and you may one day achieve the things you desire if you stop wasting time wallowing in envy.


February 16, 2011 - Posted by | Psychology

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for this entry. I have headache these days because of being envied by some co-workers. To get a peace for myself, I used to think that I could give everything to them, but it doesn’t appear to work but I get more things than before, naturally.

    Comment by Vinh Dang | November 6, 2011 | Reply

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