15 Nov Green with Envy
Original Spanish version published in Mujeres Batalla magazine (Peru) on November 15, 2014
“The people who envy you are your fans,” a very, very wise woman told me with a complicit look in her eyes while she tried to console me. “Their envy only means that they want to be like you, and though it may be very hard for you, treat them affectionately, because they suffer,” she advised
I confess that it was very hard for me to understand so much wisdom, especially at that moment, when I felt so bad because of the reaction I received from a friend I had called to share an achievement that was important to me. She first reacted very coldly, and then she changed and acted as if I had hurt her or had taken something from her. I was stunned! Our friendship was never the same.
Who has not had to contend with the bad vibes of envious people? Who has not felt looks full of resentment when something good happens to us, whether a promotion or even a new love? Who has not heard comments that try to tarnish our achievements?
At some point, we have all suffered the consequences of this unhealthy sentiment. It is part of life and of a career. Our task is to learn to bear with them without too many side-effects and without letting the distress they cause limit our will to continue to progress and grow. Above all, we must not let them mar our deserved personal or professional satisfaction or joy.
How do we identify envious people? I think I have learnt to detect them: they are not glad about our achievements or joys, but instead, they suffer, because these remind them of their own unhappiness, and it shows on their faces.
Envious people stay away from us when we are doing well. They are experts in belittling the achievements of others, in downplaying their importance, or discrediting them altogether. It is hard for them to give others any kind of recognition, because of their own insecurity.
They frequently copy our ideas, and even try to shamelessly hijack them. When they cannot, they declare them outdated or unfounded. Oh, and when they do copy us, it is always the cheap version.
Those who feel petty envy –the worst variety– are actually happy about our misfortunes. They resent us. They can even get to practically hate us. They are dangerous and we would be well advised to avoid them like the plague. They tell others that they know us well, they get together with others like them, and they even slander us or send anonymous messages seeking to discredit us… and the better we fare, the more they delight in their malice.
I have learnt to share the good things that happen to me only with those who are of generous spirit, very sure of themselves, and, above all, who love me well. I value and treasure each of the words of recognition or advice they give me.
Have I reached the point where I can treat envious people affectionately? No. Not yet. But I have started to accept them as fans.