Friday, October 21, 2011

using our energy to be envious

Every once in a while, I catch myself being jealous or envious of others.  It's unusual because I really do have a nice life, plus I am a pretty optimistic person... But, sometimes it happens when I want to sign my kids up for something that all of their friends are signed up for... or at the gym when I see a super cute gym outfit... or when a friend tells me about her annual trips to exotic, sunny, and warm places... okay, so I guess it happens.

But, not any more.  I need to conserve all the energy that I can - I found an article that points out some differences between being jealous and being envious, and explains new research on possible effects of envy: Envy May Bear Fruit, but It Also Has An Aftertaste.

Researchers found that envy "sharpens your eye and improves your memory" but also "depletes" ones ego and leads to mental fatigue.  The word envy "comes from the Latin "invidere," which means to look at with malice, or cast an "evil eye.""  Some researchers define envy in two ways, "benign envy" and "malicious envy."  Benign envy can be illustrated as "paying attention to superiors in order to emulate them, so as to raise your own standing."  Malicious envy, in comparison, is "paying attention to superiors to find weaknesses that will lower them toward your level."  One researcher said, "With benign envy, the eyes are probably wide open and eager... with malicious envy they are squinting and resentful."

Regardless of how 'envy' is defined, there are effects because "envy requires mental effort."

In another experiment, "after contemplating a wealthy, attractive peer, the students were asked to work on puzzles.  Compared with a control group, they gave up sooner."

Yes, it is energy that I need to conserve.  It is definitely not worth it.

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