I was reading something the other day that mentioned observing what you envy as a good way to figure out what’s most important to you and what you really want in life.
If our desires were purely ours, I would agree.
But what does the advertising industry do other than create desire (and therefore envy) where there previously was none?
What we find we are jealous of is largely manufactured. It’s us trying to keep up with the Jones’, whoever the Jones’ are to us. So if we take a surface look at what we envy, we’ll get a murky picture clouded by someone else’s desires, not ours.
Did a little deeper though, and deconstructing envy can end up being an important research and discovery tool. Do you feel a bit of jealousy or envy, for instance, anytime a friend gets press coverage? That could be societally induced, but it could also tell you that you have a strong need for public validation for what you do, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something incredibly important to know about yourself.
When someone wins a sports tournament, or gets an award for singing, or writes a popular book, or cooks an amazing meal, which of those things send a pang of envy through your body? If you get jealous over a perfectly made turkey but not over a winning goal scored in the soccer game, ask yourself why. It really doesn’t matter which one you are, just that you know the difference.