Coping with Envy


How to keep a lid on envy? We envy because we are blind to the bigger picture. For example, when we envy our neighbour for his shiny convertible car, we mostly ignore all the efforts and sacrifices that have gone into affording it, to say nothing of the many risks and inconveniences of driving such a car. In the words of Charles Bukowski, ‘Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell.’ In life, we are rich not only by what we have, but also and above all by what we do not. It is all too easy to forget that the investment banker or hedge fund manager has effectively sold his soul for his ‘success’, with so little spirit left in him that he no longer has the vital capacity to enjoy the advantages that he has acquired. Such a man is not to be envied but pitied. To keep a lid on envy, we have to keep on reframing, and reframing requires perspective.

Adapted from Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Kaleidoscope
    May 10, 2015 @ 16:13:20

    Nonetheless there are a lot people who would be willing to sell their soul as the investment banker did.


  2. Neel Burton
    May 10, 2015 @ 16:21:35

    Agreed, and that’s got to do with another emotion … greed.


  3. digital fishwrap
    Jun 23, 2015 @ 05:10:58

    Been noticing your thoughts online of late. Fascinating mix of psychology, philosophy, spirituality. Definitely gonna read your books, starting with Heaven&Helll.


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