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Envy Is An INHERENT PART Of The Human Condition- NO DOUBT About IT!
How Dare YOU Outsucceed Me! Who Do YOU Think YOU Are-YOU'RE Nothing Special!
Extremely thought provoking question by a fellow Hubber I might add. There are some people who could not be more happier when their friends become highly successful. According to these people, their friends' successes are indirectly their successes.
Such people are not envious of their friends' successes because each person have their own method and definition of success. The former are busy leading their own fruitful lives to ever become envious of another's success. They are too involved in developing their intellectual, educational, and socioeconomic potential to be bothered what others are doing.
According to many spiritual teachers including Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D. and Marianne Williamson, one is supposed to applaud another person's success. Many spiritual teachers strongly assert that a measure of a person's spiritual progress is how happy and unfettered he/she is regarding the success of another person. They maintain that the higher a person's spiritual level, the more pleased he/she is with others' successes. They further state that people who are upset and envious of others' successes are not really spiritually evolved people.
Those who are happy with others' successes are very few and far between. Many people are either overtly or covertly unhappy when others succeed them, particularly if the latter outsucceed them. That is an inherent and undeniable part of human nature.
The majority of us want to be first. The premise of being first and the ultimate is programmed into the human consciousness. Being first is strongly equated to being a winner. Nothing makes a person feels better than to be a winner and to come in first place.
This notion of us wanting to be first begins in early childhood. Many of us grew up with siblings where lessons of competition are learned. Each child in the family wants to be first and the winner in the eyes of his/her parents. To be first and succeed means mastery to the child and makes him/her look positive in the eyes of the parent which in turn makes the child feel as if he/she is a worthy human being.
In many families, the birth order system is fraught with hierarchical premises. According to the child's respective birth order, he/she is expected to fulfill certain familial expectations. Children are treated by their parents either differentially and/or preferentially based upon the individual birth order of the child in question. Children in a family are often given differing parental expectations which often become a self-fulfilling prophecy regarding the notion of success.
In addition to the birth order premise, there are underlying contexts to the family dynamic such as the issue of favoritism and/or being the unfavored child in the family with the accompanying expectations. Within the subtext of favoritism, there is the golden child syndrome which this child is expected to be the successful one and to probably outsucceed the rest of the family. Conversely, the subtext of the unfavored child often contains the scapegoated child who is all but neglected and expected to amount to nothing.
I have digressed too far. Within the family dynamic, children, especially those in multichild families, learn the hierarchical order with parental expectations. Children with siblings sometimes have a sibling who does things better than they do. Some children do feel quite unhappy with siblings who are often "more" than they are whether it is being more popular, attractive, and/or intelligent. These children feel why they are not first and their sibling/siblings outsucceed them so to speak. These feelings often cause rivalry and jealousy among siblings which often last into adulthood and beyond.
Not only families bred the concept of the importance of being first and successful, the school system often reward children who earn better grades than other children. In the educational system, children are amply rewarded for earning good grades such as receiving gold stars, being on the honor roll, and similar accolades. Children who earn such rewards are viewed as winners and are more highly esteemed than children who do not earn such high grades. This premise of A and honor students being considered to be first often cause envy and dissension among children.
In many school systems, smart and/or highly intelligent children are often derided, teased, and bullied either verbally or physically by other children. They are often considered by other children to be conceited and self-important because the former are high achievers. Many children also feel threatened by the smarter students in their class. There was an instance decades ago at a neighborhood elementary school where the smartest child in the class was beaten up at recess by a pupil who was left back thrice and near the bottom academically.
Some sociocultural, socioeconomic, ethnic and racial groups have their own particular notion of what it means to be successful according to their parameters. If a person of a specific group elects to succeed beyond his/her group's parameters, he/she is considered to be not real or not put of the group so to speak. He/she is considered by the specific group to be like the dominant, more successful group in the society and no longer an authentic member of the specific group.
There are some members of a group who do not wish for its members to succeed, particularly outsucceed them. Members of such groups believe that the successful member will lose contact them. They also contend that the successful member will believe that he/she is better than the group and will no longer have any thing common with them. In essence, they want the group to be entirely cohesive and if a member succeeds, it is likely that he/she will leave the group thus the group will lose its cohesiveness.
Many people feel quite unhappy if their friends or a member of their group succeed because to those who are in their particular comfort zone, the friend or member represent going into unknown territory. The former wish to remain in their comfortable and safe status and the friend and/or member who succeed and/or outsucceed them are venturing into territory which is unknown and unfamiliar to the former. Furthermore, the person who is highly successful reminds the friends and/or members which they could be if they exhort a little more effort and make sacrifices and take intelligent risks. People who are in their comfort zone often do not wish to become uncomfortable. They want to be remain within their particular status quo, often at a very high cost.
There are many people who either overtly or covertly sabotage the efforts of their more successful friends and/or members of their group. This phenomena is called the crab in a barrel mentality. That is when one person succeeds, this is viewed as a threat by the other members of the group and they decided to rein in the more successful person so to speak. It is these people's contention that if they do not succeed or only achieve a certain level of success, no one else had better not achieve a higher level of success than they. In other words, in these people's eyes who does the highly successful people think he/she is. "How dare this person want to aspire!," is the thought of the former.
Like it or not, there is an envy of the highly successful in this society. According to the societal modus operandi, it is good to achieve but only to a certain level. To achieve more is considered to be greedy, acquisitive, and totally materialistic. To such people, those who are deemed highly successful are viewed to be totally unethical workaholics who are inwardly unhappy and quite unbalanced. They further assert that no one needs to achieve a high level of success for it is totally an unnecessary expenditure of energy which could be spent doing other more important things.
In summation, there are a few people who are very happy when their friends are highly successful, even outsucceeding them. They are busy leading fulfilling lives of their own to be envious of their friends' success. Furthermore, many of them assert that their friends' success are their success.
Such evolved people are in the minority. Many people are subconsciously envious of their friends' success, especially if their friends outsucceed them. That is part of the human condition. People are programmed to be number one by their parents, schools, and outer community from the time of their early childhoods. They have been inculcated with the premise that one is nothing if not first.
Such inculcation often breed hostility and envy towards those who are deemed to be more successful than they are. Many people do not wish others. especially their friends, to be more successful than they are because it means that they are somewhat "lacking". They want things to be safe and comfortable and the friends' success represents a disruption of that safe, secure, and comfortable feeling among friends.
Some people even take that envious feelings to sabotage their friends' chances of success. This is called the crab in the barrel mentality which the "less" successful friends would do anything to hinder the chances of the "more" successful friend. Of course, such action is immature. A mature and confident person rejoices in his/her friends' successes. If the former is not comfortable and/or not happy regarding his/her life situation, he/she implements steps to improve his/her individual life instead of being envious of his/her friends' successes. There is a reason why envy is considered to be one of the seven deadliest sins. Envy is no good for anyone and only destroys the soul.
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© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams