Envy as a guide

Happy Halloween!

What a better time to think about seven deadly sins. One of sin is green-eyed monster, envy. Psychologists, therapists and your friends are right when they say “Envy is bad. You have a jealous partner, run” and I agree.

Wikipedia’s definition of Envy (from Latin invidia: non-sight) is an emotion which

“occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it”

Aristotle defined envy as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have.
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the envious labour are under cloaks of lead, their eyelids sewn tight with leaden wire—envy is a form of blindness.

According to Chaucer “all other sins oppose one virtue, but envy is against all virtue and all
goodness” and is therefore the worst of the capitals sins.

Bertrand Russell said that envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. Not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by their envy, but that person may also wish to inflict misfortune on others to reduce their status.

Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course they will envy other beggars who are more successful

No wonder it’s one of the deadly sins. Or is it really deadly?

I think there is bad envy and a good one, benign one. Benign envy can be helpful in career and in life. What if envy can show us something? Can it be our guide in a business world? My theory is that it can show us our hidden desire. Psychologists are agreeing with me.

Psychologists distinguish “true” (malicious) envy from benign envy—malicious envy being proposed as an unpleasant emotion that causes the envious person to want to bring down the better-off even at their own cost, while benign envy involves recognition of other’s being better-off, but causes the person to aspire to be as good. Psychologists have suggested that real or malicious envy should be distinguished from “benign envy”—malicious envy being proposed as an unpleasant emotion that causes the envious person to want to bring down the better-off even at their own cost, while benign envy involves recognition of other’s being better-off, but causes the person to aspire to be as good.[ However, Sherry Turkle considers that the advent of social media and selfie culture is creating an alienating sense of “self-envy” psyche in users, and posits this further affects problem areas attached to attachments. Envy and gloating have parallel structures as emotions.

The only type of envy that can have positive effects also is benign envy. According to researchers, benign envy can provide emulation, improvement motivation, positive thoughts about the other person, and admiration. This type of envy, if dealt with correctly, can positively affect a person’s future by motivating them to be a better person and to succeed.
We , as humans, tend to avoid negative aspects of life and avoid negative emotion. It is possible to turn this negative emotional state into a motivational tool that can help a person to become successful in the future.”

If I am jealous on a certain blogger because she has interesting career, her blog is amazing, posts are well written and full of tips and envy in me is tickling me, maybe it will show me what I need to do? I am not talking about malicious envy, but that little spark of jealousy where you are intrigued. I started this blog because I felt inspired to write the book reviews and first post were in Croatian. However, later it was pivoted, I started to share what I know and in English because I was a bit jealous of some bloggers and YouTubers. English is not their mother language, yet they’re creating content in English. They are not pro in the field, it doesn’t stop them to share knowledge. I could do that also. Jealousy was actually leading me to this blog today.
Overall, we can say that the blog is the result of inspired action and a sprinkle of jealousy.

Have you ever been benign envy of someone’s career? Was it to show you the way for your next step? If so, did you take it?

Till the next time,

Lucija

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