General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Whence envy?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (37526points) July 20th, 2013

Envy puzzles me. It is not a constant state. Were it, it would not be so recognizable.

Its head pops up now and again, and the best I can do is ponder and let it pass.

I surmise its origin lies in fear. I am afraid of lack. I’m struck from time to time by the irrational emotions that I am somehow not as good as another at some activity or state of being or with some material possession.

Do you experience envy? How often?

Where does it rise from?

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16 Answers

Coloma's avatar

On rare occasions, but…I learned a long time ago that to compare yourself with others is a path to misery. One best forsaken.
I really LIKE who I am as a person, but…yep, if I could do it all over again I would have a lot more money at this time of life. lol
Otherwise, I am happy being me. :-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Never experienced envy. Want, god yes, but never envy.

marinelife's avatar

I experience envy much less often since I stopped self-loathing.

ETpro's avatar

I’m in the “What is envy” camp along with @Adirondackwannabe. I see plenty of people who have admirable traits. Some I try to emulate. But to brood on why they have what they have and I do not has never occurred to me as a worthwhile use of thought. And I’m definitely in the “If I could do it all over again I would have a lot more money at this time of life.” camp along with @Coloma. I wish I’d done that on my first and only time through, but I chased other trinkets. Still, I do not envy those who did cash in early and often. They have their own crosses to bear, and many of the tasty morsels of life I sampled along the way, they passed on by because they had a different target in their sights. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if some of them envy me. :-)

Unbroken's avatar

I am not so noble so proud as to say envy is stranger to me.
Though as soon as I recognize it, it is gone upon the wind. For as soon as I realize I like one trait, circumstance experience I realize I must trade it for a one of mine. As fleeting as any negative emotion I have ever come across and so I hold envy as an evaluation mechanism. Am I on the path I want or should I redirect?

janbb's avatar

Pretty much the only time I experience envy is when I see older married couples happy together .

Headhurts's avatar

I have envy often. Not envy as in material things but kind of as emotional things. Things like @janbb said, that would make me envious.

yankeetooter's avatar

My envy is a very occasional thing as well. I look at people around me who are more successful, and I yearn to be like them. (It’s my fault, one might say, for dropping out of college the first time round, although I am now trying to remedy that…)

Every once in a great while, I find myself wondering why a person dear to me even gives me the time of day. He is so successful, has a house, etc., while I don’t even have my degree yet and have to struggle to make ends meet.

Whenever those feelings come along, I try to squash them as quickly as possible…

Bill1939's avatar

Envy is the collection of emotions arising from a desire that generates guilt that is projected as anger directed at someone with the desired.

josie's avatar

It rises from weakness in character, and poor self discipline.

It is often used by the incompetent or unmotivated as a substitute for serious introspection and self evaluation.

It is a destructive emotion, and since it does not wear well in a social context, it is often suppressed, and then repressed. Repressed negative emotions all too frequently manifest themselves as a depressive disorder.

Simple advice from Max Ehrmann in Desiderata;
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”.

gailcalled's avatar

I do envy those who can bend from the waist without having a lower back catastrophe. That’s it.

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled How about those who can waddle their way to the hot fudge sundae store?

gailcalled's avatar

That’s lust and not envy. I think there’s a difference.

JakePark's avatar

Envy is a common emotion that everyone experiences. The only thing you can hope to do is minimize its detrimental effects.

Bill1939's avatar

When I was younger, envy was common. While occasionally I may find the successes of others enviable, I envy more their discipline and dedication that produced them. I know of no one that I wish I were and many that I am glad that I am not.

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