None of us are immune from envy. But for some, it becomes an incentive to action, for others – the cause of mental anguish. Psychologist, candidate of medical sciences Denis Nikitin tells how to transform this feeling into “fuel” on the way to success and what to do if you yourself have unwittingly become the object of someone’s envy.
Oksana Morozova, : Why does envy arise and is it possible to single out the category of people who most often experience this feeling?
Denis Nikitin: Envy is a complex feeling, in which there is also a constructive component. It occurs, as a rule, when a person has some kind of unsatisfied need – for beauty, wealth or well-being in his personal life, and he begins to compare himself with someone who has everything in order in this particular area. By the way, this is what all advertising is based on – we are shown an ideal that, perhaps, is not needed, causing envy and the need to live up to it. Is it bad? Not always. Yes, for many, the feeling of envy is destructive, it poisons every day of life, makes you constantly feel inferior and hostile to someone who you think is better. But there is a category of people who are motivated by envy to work on themselves, to strive to get closer to the level of the object of envy: for example, pull themselves together and lose weight to the desired size, learn a foreign language or make a career breakthrough. And then envy becomes “fuel” on the way to success.
– Why do some envy silently, while others do it openly and often in a rather ugly way?
“Those who envy silently are not very envious, or more often than not, they simply have better control over themselves, or they are simply more cunning, and therefore potentially more dangerous. But if someone starts offending a person whom he envies, aggression is added to envy – a desire to harm another, offend and thus slightly belittle a person who, in his opinion, is more successful.
Envious, as a rule, it becomes easier not when they themselves achieve something, but when they manage to belittle the one they envy. It is interesting that usually people who do not know how to understand what they really want add aggression to envy. For example, a person is jealous of a wealthy neighbor, but in fact he is anxious and wants to get rid of it. He thinks that wealth will help with this. By the way, one should not assume that “silent” strong envy is less destructive than demonstrative envy – both of them have a bad effect on both the one who envy and the one who is envied.
– How to respond to envious people, especially demonstrative ones, so that it does not destroy you?
– With envious people, as well as with jealous people, it is useless to argue, to logically prove to them that their envy is created by themselves due to internal psychological problems. They will think that you have humiliated them, stressed that they are worse, and will only increase their pressure on you. Better to just ignore any attacks. Don’t notice them. Do not react to attempts to provoke you into a conflict – remember the anecdote about the duck, which loudly and dejectedly envied the geese that fly to warmer climes, but she cannot, because she is heavy and her wings are small.
If you are already frankly “fed up” with the attention of an envious person, say directly that this is unpleasant for you. Cut it off, not rough, but very firmly. Don’t be afraid to show moderate anger yourself. For example, say: “I am angry with such conversations, I don’t want and I won’t support them!” Sometimes this will have to be repeated several times until the envious person learns the lesson and leaves you behind. In general, keep in mind that the envious person is initially in a weaker and more vulnerable position in relation to you, but only when you do not play by his rules.
– What to do if this feeling arose in the person himself?
– The first thing to start with is to figure out what exactly you envy? Purchase, career or just someone else’s happiness? If it’s something specific, do you really need it? Are you ready to strive to get the same? Pay the price of achievement? The English have a proverb – if you’re jealous of me, try to walk in my shoes – just about the price that a person had to pay for his success. Imagine how many sleepless nights a person spent preparing, for example, for a difficult professional exam that allowed him to climb the career ladder. Or how your familiar family for many years denied themselves holidays and vacations in order to save up for an apartment? Realize that almost nothing is given by itself, except perhaps on the condition of being born into the royal family, and even that is not a fact. Are you ready for such an effort? If so, plan specific actions and get started. If not, say so to yourself, you can several times.
– And if a person is jealous of luck?
– Then two facts will help you overcome envy. Firstly, luck is trained, it is not some kind of mysticism, but the ability to look at the world broadly and quickly analyze situations. And the second – the world is beautiful, but unfair. The sooner you can accept this axiom, the sooner you will begin to live without envy.
If you envy happiness, you need to figure out what happiness means to you. It is not at all a fact that marriage, moving, or professional achievement will make you personally happy. The fact is that happiness is individual for everyone. When you figure it out, again, start moving towards your personal happiness – step by step. Let them be small, but the main thing is to start moving. At this stage, envy will stop bothering you and turn into the very “fuel” on the path to success.