In our modern world, we are often faced with situations in which we lack what others possess. Whether it’s a friend’s fancy new watch, a co-worker’s apartment in the city, a frothy cup of coffee on a billboard or the neighbor’s new baby, we are surrounded by things that others have and we do not.
Envy is one of those painful emotions that most people try to avoid. It is a complicated mixture of desire and longing, with other emotions, such as inferiority, frustration, anger and discontent. Marketing campaigns are often designed to elicit envy, but its expression is socially unacceptable.
And envy, like many other emotions, is further complicated by both its useful and its destructive impact on our behavior. Envy can cause us to work harder, strive for more and innovate in ways that allow us to attain what we desire. But envy can also leave us feeling spiteful and resentful of others and cause us to behave in ways that are not good for us long-term, e.g. by spending money we don’t have or eating too much or making other unhealthy choices.
So what’s the difference between useful and destructive behavior? When does it prompt positive striving for more and enhance our lives and when are we likely to give into painful social comparisons, bitter resentment and impulsive, risky and potentially harmful behaviors?
Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines.Post a Comment: