Envy is known as one of the most powerful human emotions for its ability to control one, as if envy was an entity in itself. It is the pain or frustration caused by another person having something that one does not have oneself. Aristotle defined envy (phthonos) as ” the pain caused by the good fortune of others”. In Buddhism the third of the four divine abidings is mudita . This virtue is considered the antidote to envy . Islam, warns envy can destroy one’s good deeds. Therefore, one must be content with what God has given to them by saying In sha Allah (according to the will of God). The reference “green-eyed monster” comes from Othello spoken by Iago:“.. O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;It is the green-ey’d monster ..”
Nothing displeases an envious ,jealousy filled heart , as much as a person who will just go on with life in ignorant bliss.That is, the kind of person who brushes off rumours, insults, malice and envy, as you would dust off your pants. With absolutely no care or fuss.
An envious mind, is a soil full of a poisonous chemical. Everything good or bad in it, dies from within. All the rain, shine and nutrients are in vain.
Your heart and mind are the soil and the plants and other matter, your life. If the heart and mind carry envy, all else that is good from within and around you, diminishes in importance. The saddest aspect about people going green with envy, is that they develop habits of acting with pure malice and impudence. Envy does not wish a body well. Any body,for that matter.
Our good Lord, effects punishment of this vice full circle. When you envy others, you get hurt. Envy eats you up! Not those you envy. Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Envy is a result of greed. Children need to be taught early in life, that envy is a sign of laziness and greed. In molding young minds, this vice should be constantly harped upon as destructive to the self and harmful to society.
Most of the prevention and avoidance of envy lies in hard work. A busy mind benefits the body, and challenges are constant when one is on the go at anything useful, whether mental or physical. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
Envy is also a result of lack of confidence and self esteem. A confident person rests assured that he is the best that he can be. He is at peace with himself. If there is room to improve, then they work a pace at which they can aim for this achievement, and operate within it. It need not be the same pace as that of the best person in the same category. The end after all, justifies the means.
Not all of us will live to be millionaires, doctors or famous politicians. Some of us will be leaders and others will be followers. Many of the gardeners, cooks, clerks, aides, and others, will aim only to perfect their particular line of operation, skill or position. Indeed their greatest achievement will not be to rise to a higher level, but to be the best in their particular level.
A house girl will aim to be the best in her work among peers. She will aim to be considered the most obedient and understanding by her master or mistress and entire household. She will strive to run “her” house better than even they would. Managing this, will be her goal and achievement. A person with different ambitions, might think her un-ambitious or lowly or so naïve…. but here the line is drawn between self-satisfaction and greed. Any praise heaped upon her, the appreciation of her employers and family, the smooth running of that home…will give her the greatest satisfaction. It will bring her praise from her own peers and visitors to the home, She will have excelled as much as the next management trainee will have done, in his merit of a promotion. The world needs a lot of ordinary people to do some small but extraordinary things.
My three loves are not similarly endowed mentally or otherwise. Thus, I encourage each according to their ability and talent. This way, I ensure that each child feels that they are performing at optimum according to their abilities and limitations. Boosting a child’s confidence irrespective of their level of capability, ensures that there is little or no occasion for envy and jealousy.
One demanding factor encouraged by schools is competitiveness without due regard to a child’s talents. There are children who have absolutely no ability to maintain even a constant average mark. They are always below this. However, some of these same children, are group leaders at sports, games, acting, debate, innovation, tidiness and cleanliness and other aspects.
It is imperative that we as guardians and parents, encourage them to develop these abilities with the same zeal we would, for class work. Effort must be made to help them in any subject they show any possibility of improvement. If a child is a sportsperson, encourage them to understand science, so that they may know about their body functions for better understanding on self-improvement. Create an interest in geography, so they may note what surroundings they practice within, and to better appreciate the environment.
Another way of erasing feelings of inadequacy and thus envy from the growing child is by giving continual examples of the merits of humility. I confess to believing humility, to be among the greatest of virtues. A humble person has no opportunity of envy. They strive to belittle themselves even in the face of deserving praise and glory. They redeem themselves, even where they far exceed others in stature, performance, ability or endowment.
When all is said and done, greed causes envy, more than anything else. Will yourself to be satisfied with the limitations placed upon you by nature, circumstance and opportunity.
Any effort to surpass laid down limitations, should be driven by a need that does not include unnecessary pain, deprivation or retrogression of the affairs of others.
No harm is done by those aiming higher, needing more and wishing for better, if it is all done without going green over the gains and benefits of others.
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Emerald Sua is a Christian single mother who prides herself as a voluntary organizational guru for lives, systems, situations and homes.