You're Stronger than the Envy of Others

You're Stronger than the Envy of Others
Francisco Pérez

Written and verified by the psychologist Francisco Pérez.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

The term envy proceeds from the Latin “invidere”, which translated literally means “to see with bad eyes”.

Envious people frown upon the qualities, success or possessions of others. For these people, they constitute a source of unpleasant feelings and profound dissatisfaction.

Being envious is usually a secret, hidden thing. You don’t hear of people being seriously envious of you very often. It almost is embarrassing to admit that another can make you so uneasy, sometimes even hostile towards them.

Other times, we try to justify our envy through value judgments. Judgment, despite having some motive to back it, is so nuanced by our emotional state that it’s usually not very objective. Due to this mechanism, sometimes fear gives way to slander or defamation.

A person filled with envy frowns upon the qualities, success or possessions of others. These constitute a source of unpleasant feelings and profound dissatisfaction. 

It’s hard to find someone who’s never felt envious about anything in their lives. Although almost no one admits to feeling envy, you only need to look at someone who’s had a lot of success quickly. They will soon be the object of envy disguised as criticism.

Is there such a thing as healthy envy? Or is it simply a desire to excel?

There are situations that are connected to envy, but which belong to different dimensions. At times we say that we’re envious of someone because we admire their qualities or how well they are meeting their potential.

We would like to be like them in that way. It’s not about envy at all. Instead, it’s a desire to excel. That way, the envied individual becomes a role model.

Other times, one may feel indignation due to the success of someone we deemed unworthy. Say a coworker is up for a promotion. We might believe that said person isn’t prepared for the responsibility they’ve been given. This thought isn’t always hiding envy.

Sometimes there are objective reasons behind these thoughts or evaluations. This is especially the case if we’re not referring to people who are close to us, and if their success or new position is relatively unrelated to ours.

Not all criticism proceeds from envious people. There are other factors that can be confused with envy, such as jealousy or the desire to excel. 

Behind the envy…

Other times, it’s about more than envy. Instead, it’s about jealousy. We may be jealous when someone gets the love or admiration that we’dd like from certain people, exclusively.

Lastly, let’s not confuse envy with the disgust that you may feel after learning of another’s success or luck, until you end up with hate or a desire for vengeance. Their success doesn’t generate envy. Instead, it generates frustration due to those hostile desires.

Many giant hands are pointing at a girl on the ground.

Pride and selfishness are intimately linked to envy

Pride and selfishness are two traits that are intimately linked to envy. Pride makes an individual not accept others being valued as equal or higher than them.

These individuals consider them equal or less than and also aren’t willing to accept their accomplishments. In fact, comparisons with other people are very common when we’re dealing with envy. These comparisons are a source of self-evaluation and self-affirmation.

Selfishness implies an exaggerated craving to possess everything for yourself. It’s an attitude of self-absorption, ignoring everyone else’s interests.

Thus, the feelings and worries of others stay on the sidelines, as if they didn’t exist or weren’t important. The things accomplished by others are experienced as something you once owned but was taken from you. Others got something which, in your mind, belonged to you. Something that “they don’t deserve”.

Pride and selfishness are intimately linked to a feeling of envy. They are impulsed by desires of self-affirmation and defense mechanisms. 

Pride and selfishness are impulsed by desires of self-affirmation and defense mechanisms for self-evaluation achieved through comparison with everyone else.

They are impregnated with value judgments about others, which lack objectivity, since they are deformed by emotional qualities. This is the scenario where envy makes its appearance.

7 signs that someone is envious of you

A true friendship is one that helps you grow and become a better person. However, you might have asked yourself at some point if your friends were envious of you or if they just admired you . To clear up this point, here are 7 signs that could indicate whether your friends feel envious of you.

Your friends may be envious if they…

  • Aren’t interested in you. And actually, they get distant when you see success or triumph.
  • Sometimes don’t keep the secrets you confide in them.
  • Talk badly about other people. They may also speak badly of you.
  • Hide the truth by giving you false compliments.
  • Speak badly about your loved ones.
  • Are only with you in the good times, but leave you alone in the hard times.
  • Don’t respect your opinion.
An envious fairy is pinned on a target.

7 pieces of advice to deal with envious people

The first step is learning to recognize envy. Sometimes it’s easy, but other times it can be quite complicated. That’s why we provided the criteria above.

Secondly, once you recognize these envious people, it might be a good idea to follow this advice for dealing with them:

  • Pay attention to the negative things this person says to you. When they make it to 3, end the conversation.
  • Surround yourself with people who support you. Then the envious person will have fewer chances to make you feel bad by exposing you in front of a group.
  • Befriend someone in their social circle. This will make them feel like the stranger in the group.
  • Let this person know that their negativity makes you uncomfortable. This might make them rethink their way of treating you. Although this might not always be the case.
  • Compliment the person who envies you. You may manage to catch them off guard this way.
  • Share your difficulties and negative qualities with them. Thus, they will feel that you’re not perfect and will envy you a bit less.
  • Help them improve in life. Oftentimes, envious people simply have low self-esteem.

If none of this works, the best thing to do in these cases is to get some distance from this person. There’s nothing wrong with changing your friendships or ceasing to have contact with someone who used to be your friend. Because now they are hurting you with their envy.

We have the right to choose the people who get to be around us and spend time with us.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.