The most stupid of vices
11 Nov 2018
Few men have the natural strength to honor a friend’s success without envy.Aeschylus - Tragedian
I still remember the two-horned devil in a green sleeveless cloak that came up on TV. The Onida TV advertisement. He’d say owning an Onida TV is “Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride.” That was in the 90’s. The first time the world taught me to envy someone who owned the Onida TV. Or to own one so someone might covet me. Back then I had no clue envy was immoral and thought it was perfectly alright to have it, just as the advertisement suggested.
Maybe not because of this advertisement, but many of us can’t deny that we have envied someone or something at some point in time in our lives. For some, envy would have misstruck to replace life goals. It’s so creepy you never realise when it gets into your lives. Until one day you are filled with bitter annoyance at having been mistreated.
It is not entirely wrong to have an intense feeling of longing for something, typically one that you have has lost or been separated from. However, one must be aware that this fierce desire inherently paves a way to envy. No human can avoid this intense feeling of longing. As a matter of fact, every human must have feelings and emotions without which humanity is impossible. The right thing to do is to manage to live with a fair yearning and not to be carried away by your feelings.
How do you stay happy in all situations? Being aware of reality. Any unfortunate situation, as it may seem to be, in fact, is something you can’t get rid of. It is just a boundary within which you need to operate. It’s not unusual for someone to look beyond the edge to see what’s not available. In reality, one ought to see what’s available within the set limits. When you carefully observe, there is a lot more you can do than you think it was possible within this boundary. That is why we are sometimes advised to relate to people who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Everyone wants to be treated equally. If not equally, at least fair and reasonable. Any action that is unfair is undoubtedly unwelcome. What happens when you are maltreated? Sometimes it stays as an unpleasant feeling. This prolonged feeling causes bitterness. Finally, anger and annoyance are provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment. The only way we can cope up during times of unfair treatment is to understand that it is practically impossible to be treated all the time equally.
You may have a circumstance. You may have been treated unfairly. It is normal for someone like that to feel unfortunate. But, while you are feeling unfortunate if other’s possessions of money and material, or their qualities or sheer luck arouses a resentful longing or a feeling of discontent, be aware that it is envy and that you have no single advantage to be gained from it.
Learn to replace envy with realistic goals. You may not have all the luck to get back everything you have lost in the past. You surely have all the chance to get something in the future. Always remember that there may be someone who had missed what you got.