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Why envy is needed and what it is

Scientists suggest that envy appeared thanks to evolution. This feeling was supposed to indicate the vulnerability of a person and motivate him to correct the situation, and therefore increase the chances of survival.

With envy activated the anterior cingulate cortex, which is also responsible for pain, hunger, sexual satisfaction, and the reward system. That is why a person experiences strong feelings when, for example, he sees a new beautiful car at a neighbor.

Envy pushed primitive people into action: either they took by force what they wanted to possess, or they tried to achieve an equal or higher level on their own. Such aspirations helped to survive and leave offspring. Since then, society has changed a lot, but envy has not disappeared anywhere.

Scientists put forward different theories about what this feeling really is. Some view envy as a purely negative emotion that provokes aggressive behavior. Others – as a person’s reaction to their own shortcomings. And still others generally talk about the existence of soft (white) and malignant (black) envy.

Some languages ​​even have two separate words for these varieties. For example, zazdrość and zawiść in Polish, or benijden and afgunst in Dutch.

According to the proponents of the latter theory, mild envy borders with admiration and consider some psychologists, can motivate a person. Malignant causes hatred of others or makes you feel unhappy.

What and who do people usually envy

Envy in general distributed by on others who are close to us in status or whose success is expressed in categories that we understand.

For this reason we are sharper react on the achievements of others in areas that excite ourselves. For example, an Olympic champion may be the envy of athletes or those who believe that they have not achieved similar success at a similar age.

Achievements we know excite stronger than unknown bystanders. And we compare ourselves less often with very successful people, because we usually do not consider that we have equal talents or opportunities with them.

Finally, we have brighter negative emotions cause concrete, not abstract things. We would rather envy an expensive car, a big house, or frequent trips abroad than contemplative happiness.

That is, a former classmate with his Lexus is a more likely target for envy than Elon Musk. We have known the first one for a long time, and he parks the car right under our window, and the second turns over astronomical sums somewhere in North America.

How envy hurts

The benefits of envy, even mild ones, are not very obvious. So, scientists from Germany, Great Britain and Austria analyzed questionnaires that 18,000 Australians filled out over eight years. Researchers have not found any evidence that envy motivates people to change or leads to increased psychological or material well-being.

But there are definitely a lot of negative effects generated by this emotion.

It can cause hostility between people

Envy compels either become better yourself, or do everything to lower the other to your level. This can manifest itself both in minor injections and in outright gloating and aggression. And even between friends flare up real enmity.

Although aggressive behavior does nothing to help the envious person achieve what he wants, it quenches his malevolence. Yes, American psychologists discoveredthat sports fans sometimes rejoice when an opposing player gets injured.

She can provoke bullying

Envy is often becomes cause of targeted aggression. In the absence of the opportunity to amuse their gloating by other methods or bypass a competitor in a fair fight, many begin to assert themselves with the help of dirty tricks. In this case, during go bullying and gossip.

She can make people lie

Sometimes those who are jealous in black try to improve position not through hard work and self-improvement, but through faster methods. For example, lie about their professional achievements in order to get a higher status job.

It can hurt your career

When a person is obsessed with other people’s successes, obsessed with comparisons, he sometimes begins neglect their duties and even sabotage the work. For example, ignore the instructions of a colleague who has received a promotion. Scandals and unfulfilled duties eventually turn against the envious.

It can lead to stress or depression

Due to strong and frequent bouts of envy, she is able to fell self-esteem, and the person himself may begin to be ashamed of his feelings. Such painful emotions lead to apathy, doubt and isolation – this is a direct path to stress and depression.

What to do with envy

It is natural to experience such a feeling, but this does not mean that it is impossible or not necessary to deal with it. Here are some tips for dealing with negative emotions.

Determine what causes jealousy

Understanding the reasons will help you better understand your feelings and respond more calmly to the situation. Blind anger will be replaced by a more rational approach, which will also tell you what to do in order to get what you want.

So that try determine what exactly you are missing. For example, if you can’t afford to travel when a colleague with the same salary does so regularly, find a reason. Perhaps he saves on everything, and therefore he has extra money for travel. Or maybe you have a family and children, while nothing holds him.

Focus on your achievements

Take a break from the accomplishments of others and look at yourself. Think about what makes you proud. You may not have become a boss, but all your colleagues respect you. Or maybe you didn’t achieve great success in sports, but you raised wonderful children.

Such a compliment to myself will give you motivation and distract from the negative. After all, when you look at your own achievements, then immediately feel more self-confident and less envious of others.

Try to build relationships and work more together

How showed Chinese study, if you actively communicate with people, there will be less reason to envy. And for you, and for them. So if you are promoted, the rest will consider the decision fair – after all, success has not gone to your head. And if your friend rises up the career ladder, then you will probably be happy for your friend – he is not your rival.