Word of The Week: Envy



noun or verb

I first got inspired to write this article when I read a novel named “Envy” by Sandra Brown. It gave me a lot of insight on how truly destructive envy can be and I decided to share it both to those who ‘envy’and those who are ‘envied’.
The regular dictionary meaning of ‘envy’ is “the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has” but this does not seem to explain the in-depth of envy, so I checked yet another dictionary which explained it better.

“Envy is a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another person, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”

I was more satisfied with this definition. Charley Reese said;

“It is never wise to seek or wish for another’s misfortune. If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang”.

The first part I am going to focus on for now is on those who ‘envy’ others. Arthur Chapman once said and I quote;

“Envy is like a fly that passes all the body’s sounder parts and dwells upon the sores”.

A person who ‘envies’ is focused on what others have, that they do not, or what others can do and they cannot. This particular set of people focus on their weaknesses and not their strengths.
The thing about ‘envy’ is that you usually don’t know when it starts. It is more like a seed planted and at the long run sprout into something very destructive. I am going to try to be very relatable.

William Shakespeare once said;

“Oh, what a bitter thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes”.

It is definitely not easy to see your fellow man succeed while you are behind but that is where your strength comes in. You need to find that one thing you are good at. Trust me, there is always going to be someone better than you in one thing or the other but, you will be fine.
Every one of my friends is better than me in one or maybe two particular things but I cover for that by being better than them in one other thing. For example, a friend of mine is great in a course called “Personality Assessment” while I am not so great. But not to blow my own trumpet, I am pretty good at another course called “Abnormal Psychology” so instead of dwelling in what I am not so great at and competing with her, I build my strength.

Francis Bacon said;

“Envy is ever joined with comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy”.

I see the world as sort of like a combination of “give and take” situations. I try my best to always have something to give in all my relationships. I realized it builds a person’s self esteem. I have been gifted with wonderful and crazy smart friends, so it is very easy to feel intimidated by them. What keeps me going is knowing that I am not just “taking” but also “giving” in my own way.

Someone once said;

“Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has”.

I need to point out that your strength does not have to be about “books”. It could be that you are that one friend that loves make-up or as simple as just being a “listening ear”.

Seneca once said;

“No one can have all he wants, but a man can refrain from wanting what he has not and cheerfully make the best of a bird in the hand”.

The funny thing I have realized overtime is that those who “envy” usually seem “perfect” to other people but they never see it because they so focused on their weaknesses.

The other part I will like to address is for those who are “envied”.

Marilyn Monroe once said;

“Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you”.

It is absolutely hard to look into a close friend’s eyes and see “envy”. What seems like it only happens in films and books actually happens in reality. I will briefly write about my personal experience.
I once had a friend who was as pretty as a Greek goddess. Hair so long she could be mistaken for Rapunzel…….The point is she was very beautiful. Her only weakness was that she wasn’t so good academically and that’s where I come in. I loved school so much. I was what you could call a “geek”. She would always pick fights with me and I remember wondering “Why? You are so pretty. Why dwell on the one thing you are not good at and obviously do not like?”
I have to say, it was painful to see a friend constantly pulling me down. She was absolutely blind to her potentials. It is true what Harold Coffin said;

“Envy is the art of counting other fellow’s blessings instead of your own”.

I accepted that as long as I want to succeed, I will have to deal with others envying me. Like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said

“Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay”. I just pray and hope that people do not fall victim to “envy” because like Socrates said “The envious person grows lean with the fatness of their neighbour”.

It is advisable for those who find themselves “envied” to try to stay away from such people before their “envy” drives them to do something destructive to you.

Written by Temitayo A. Shoberu

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