We tend to envy certain qualities and characters that make others successful. As long as we emulate them and strive for the same or better qualities, we are motivated to a higher ground than we were. There is nothing wrong with that form of envy. Envy is an indication that you possess some admirable qualities or character worthy of emulation. It can also get you into trouble with those that are threatened by the fine characters. In those days, elders pray not only for your success but that it should surpass theirs. (E to wa e juwa lo).
Early in life, children are faced with Bullying that may not be easily defined as Envy when they develop their character in our community or environment that later influence or shape their behaviour into adulthood. Friends are important. Indeed, we become curious if our children are shy or withdraw from friends. Just as we become worried if all they want to do is play. So, we remind them that all play and no work is as dangerous as all work and no play. The girls remind parents how strict we were when they were in their late teens. As they get into their mid-twenties gunning for careers while playing innocent, we get nervous asking them when they are going to bring a boyfriend or girlfriend home. Say what?
Relationships are functional factors of social characters within all animals, so humans are no exception. But it comes at a cost in terms of envy and jealousy. When we make comparisons to improve and better our situation or attract one another, the community benefits. If we become mischievous to gain an upper hand, we run into a rat race and may poison the well.
There was this popular student at one of the universities. Friends liked him and he was generous almost to a fault. He came from a good home and his parents rewarded his good behaviour and grades in college to encourage him. Who would want to hurt such an easy-going spirit because friends like him? No one has everything. There is always a prettier attire, a better toy, a bigger farm or some more endowed person out there than you are. As long as we are not satisfied with what we have or achieved, the tendency is there to be envious. Even worse, some bully those that cannot fight back, just to feel better.
Young people have a free spirit but also naive thinking they are not vulnerable. It takes life experience, no matter how cautiously their parents or elders implore them. The worst nightmare of parents is the news that a child at any age, not to mention a college student, becomes the victim of an unfortunate accident.
It started early and developed into cancerous envy as a common enemy. We have to promote healthy behaviour early in life to deter dysfunctional behaviour into adulthood. Communities have a moral obligation to discourage behaviour that may not be illegal but functionally antisocial.
By the time you are told to take your bike home because friends or bullies consider you a snub or above their level, you may start wondering if the fault is yours or theirs. Therefore, we have people that try to play down their success (a few play dumb) to prevent jealousy for peace sake. They go out of their way to make friends around them comfortable, almost begging for amicable interaction. You cannot satisfy the wishes and caprices of people whose only motive is to control you. The more you bend and try to please them, the more demands they make. They are best tolerated at a distance.
What destroys us is the negativity of trying to bring good folks down to a lower level, out of jealousy. It is the fear of losing to others what we cherried selfishly as useful characters. We may destroy the fine character and good qualities we have left in us or lose it all by trying to get it back through any means necessary. If you have a friend, set him free. If she is yours, she will stay, fly away or come back to you. It becomes your choice to take her or him back if it is worth the trouble.
Wait O! Why do two rich people befriend or marry each other? One of them should be poor or ugly, at least! There are people out there that hate to see two successful people together. Never keep anyone by force or threat if she is not voluntarily yours. It is conflicting enough when parents reject either of you based on idiosyncrasy, myth, custom or age. Birth price or dowry is a different topic. Parents have to realize their objection to their child’s lover is an invitation to rebel. If you elope, after getting off your high, one of you would wonder if it is all worth the alienation of families and friends. Before giving up on relatives, better sensitize them to your choice to neutralize their fear. They will later appreciate your efforts.
On our way to careers and higher responsibilities, we must lose some friends on the way and some friends will drop us after promotion to the next class. Goals and priorities change. Some people are going to the extreme to keep casual, platonic and amorous relationships, real or imagine. We have friends and colleagues at work and community that become envious of one another while others, out of jealousy demand loyalty or attention they cannot give or deserve. Sometimes it can be as petty as being the favourite of the boss. Remember, as much as our parents tried to love us equally, we know their favourite.
Another group are colleagues that know you make about the same salary but cannot understand how you manage your money better than they do. Others calculate how much you make by your appearance and figure out how much you should give. Envy creeps up if you cut your coat according to your means. Any attempt to please them would burst your pocket. If you burst, they would be the first to ridicule you. Envy could be dangerous if you do not know how to love some folks from a distance.
Unfortunately, no matter what you do, all lizards lie on their bellies, we do not know which has (bad belle) an arching stomach, according to a Yoruba adage. Many research into friendships and envy informed us to rely on old or childhood friends and some families as we get older. It gives us enough years to pick and choose characters that may fit our needs as we mature, to weed out some unpredictable moves, envy or jealousy. While it is true that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer; no one in their matured age needs unnecessary hassles and distractions.
When you look back from cradle to grave and examine the causes of Envy and Jealousy, it boils down to Wealth, Jobs, Partners, gorgeous Bodies, Cars, Abodes
or Vanities that could not buy Death, Peace of Mind or Heath.