Envy refers to an emotion which occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.

Aristotle defined envy as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have”.

It is major cause of unhappiness.

Two types exist: benign envy and malicious envy.

Malicious envy is an unpleasant emotion that causes the envious person to want to bring down the better-off even at their own expense.

Benign envy involves recognition of other’s being better-off, but causes the person to aspire to be as good.

Benign envy is a negative emotion in the sense that it feels unpleasant.

Benign envy can provide emulation, improvement in motivation, positive thoughts about the other person, and admiration.

Benign envy can positively affect a person’s future by motivating them to be a better person and to succeed.

A socioevolutionary view of envy provides motivation, and it may boost attention and memory, increases support for economic redistribution, involves a motive to outdo or undo a rival’s advantage.

A socioevolutionary view of envy may be based on materialistic possessions rather than psychological states. 

Envy is associated with overwhelming emotions due to someone possessing desirable items that they do not: 

emotional pain, a lack of self-worth, and a lowered self-esteem and well-being.

Envy is an integral part of what animates human behavior, and is a symptom of desire, which is why it flourishes in market societies.

Envy may negatively affect relationships, by altering its closeness and satisfaction.

Envy is often associated with a skewed perception on how to achieve true happiness. 

Some believe that envy may be a driving force behind the movement of economies and keeping  up with the Joneses system. 

Benign envy may lead a person to work harder to achieve more success.

Envy is evidenced at an early age. 

Adults can be just as envious as children, but they tend to be better at concealing that emotion.

Envy has a significant role in the development of adolescents. 

Comparisons can range from physical attributes, material possessions, and intelligence.

Children are more likely to envy over material objects, as they believe these such objects are correlated to their status.

Children/adolescents who are self-confident are less likely to become envious of others material objects, because they do not self identify with materials.

As children age they develop stronger non-materialistic envy: romantic relationships, physical appearance, achievement, and popularity. 

If envious feelings are internalized in children, it may have a negative impact on self-esteem. 

Envy comes from comparing and adverse comparisons can serve as a reminder that they have failed social norms and do not fit in with their peers. 

If such feelings of inadequacy arise and become destructive to a child’s happiness.

Comparisons between individuals can have two outcomes: it can be healthy in aiding in self-improvement or it can be unhealthy and result in envy/jealousy which can develop into depression. 

The younger the person, the more likely they are to be envious of others.

Adults under the age of 30 are more likely to experience envy compared to those 30 years and older. 

Younger adults, under the age of 30, have been found to envy others’ social status, relationships, and attractiveness.

Envy diminishes when a person hits their 30s, as they begin to accept who they are as an individual and compare themselves to others less often. 

However, they still envy, but over different aspects in life, such as career or salary.

Envy decreases with age,  however, envious feelings over money consistently increase as a persons gets older.

As a person ages, they begin to accept their social status. 

Envious feelings will be present throughout a person’s life, and it is up to the individual whether they will let these envious feelings motivate or destroy them.

Aristotle: envy is the “pain caused by the good fortune of others”. 

Kant, defined envy as “a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others”.

We envy people when we want what they have. 

We are jealous when we want to keep for ourselves what belongs exclusively to us. 

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