Envious endeavors at play


Gaby Yap, asst. opinions editor

Whether you feel green with sickness from that one expired sandwich you ate, or green with nerves before that important presentation you have next block, we have all felt green at some point.

There is also a different type of green: envy. 

Envy can be as shallow as seeing a pair of shoes you wanted on another person, or as deep as desiring the body someone else has. Regardless, envy is an emotion no one wants to feel. 

Yet, we still do.

The research paper, The Evolutionary Psychology of Envy and Jealousy by neuroscientists Baland Jalal and Vilayanur Ramachandran, describes the purpose of envy as a psychological effort meant to motivate a person into acting on the changes they want to make in their own lives. 

What this paper omits is how this applies to the high school environment. 

Because high school is such a fluctuating time in one’s personal growth, the envy one feels towards others can be burdening instead of motivating. Seeing someone in the hall wearing the shoes you have wanted for ages can ruin your whole day because you wish you were them. When all you want is to be like other people, you lose sight of the person you really want to be.

Who you are and your self worth should not be defined by what you see in others.

It can be a struggle to combat that instant stab of envy you feel for another person, but when you remind yourself that your life is just as valuable, you can neutralize that feeling. 

Take a good look at yourself and find at least one part that you like. Now, do that but think about everything else in your life that you like. It is here you will start to realize that there is so much more to yourself than what you do not have. 

Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, Harvard Health Publishing wrote. When focusing on the parts of yourself that you love and are grateful to have, your self-love should outweigh your envy. You might even realize that you have cooler shoes than that other person.

Envy may feel like it is swallowing you up, especially when there are so many different people around you triggering that feeling. You realistically may not be able to completely eradicate envy in your life. Yet, being content with yourself is not about trying to be 100 percent yourself without anyone’s influence; it is about knowing who you truly are underneath these influences.

You do not need to be the person with cooler shoes because you have yourself to be proud of.