Merriam-Webster defines envy as a “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.” When we are envious, we hate the fact that someone else is successful or happy. We want to selfishly remove their fortunate circumstances and place them upon our own backs.
Why should we allow ourselves to feel pain when someone we know has a positive experience or obtains something nice? Learning to be truly happy for others when they accomplish something that brings them some measure of happiness or success requires humility, love and gratitude. Each of these principles will allow you to feel a greater measure of satisfaction with not only your successes but for the successes of other. Teaching these principles to your children will help them find greater satisfaction in any circumstance.
The more experiences you have with people from all over the world, the more you realize all people are the same. We all have the same basic needs, the same desires and the same hopes. Regardless of education level, religious affiliation, family size, bank account size or even your physical geographical location we should never think we are better than someone else. We are not.
A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson helped me to look at everyone I meet in a different way. He said, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way, in that I learn of him.” As we take this approach to everyone that we come in contact with we will quickly develop within ourselves a spirit of humility. We will also learn valuable life lessons from each person that comes into our life.
When we love someone, we will never envy them. Think about the relationship you have with your children. Do you want them to be smarter than you were? More successful? Happier? Loving parents want the best for their children. They want their children to be better off than they were. True friends want the best for those they love. As you learn to love deeper and to be willing to sacrifice the best things for others, envy will fade away and you will look for opportunities to lift and strengthen your family and all those you come into contact with.
Grateful people are happy people regardless of the circumstances that they find themselves in. As you learn and develop the characteristic of gratitude you will discover a greater measure of peace and contentment in your life and in your family. Start by simply making a list of the things that you value, that you are sincerely grateful for. I have heard of some who keep a gratitude journal. Those who engage in the practice of counting their many blessings do not have time to be envious of others.
As we develop humility, we will never seek to aggrandize ourselves above another. We will be happy to see our friends and family members achieve success. Loving others in a way that you desire them to be better off than yourself is admirable. As you give of yourself in the service of others, encouraging them to be successful you will be rewarded with a greater ability to avoid the aches of envy. Recognize the good fortunes in your life and you will no longer need to be pained by the success of another.