"Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own." - Harold Coffin
We all want things we don't or can't have. Even if you live a 'plain' life, you'll want things. You'll want a new washing line, a new cow, a new loft in the barn, new shoes, new quilts, new glasses, etc. I don't think that desiring things that we don't have counts as envy. I want lots of things, things that aren't even useful, or needful, but I want them. Why? Oh, many, many reasons. Acquisitiveness, maybe, or my love of them. Sometimes, they're even useful things. (But not all the time, by any stretch of the imagination.) But I can see someone else *with* that thing, and admire it, and think, 'oh, I wish I could afford/find/have room for one of those' *without* considering the person who does have it. They're (most of the time) not a part of the equation to me. I don't feel a pang of anger that *they* have it and *I* don't. I don't wail about the unfairness of the universe, that they should have this thing I so desire, and I can't.
I'm not saying I've *never* envied anyone. I don't recall any times, to be honest, but that doesn't mean that they never happened. I'm just saying I don't make a habit of it.
But I know people who do, and they want others to *know* about this unfair balance in the cosmos, so that the others can commiserate with them, and feel those sick, stabbing pains too.
Let's take the incident this morning. I was talking with a girl in another department about her department head. We were wondering if he was coming in, because his 'deputy' was off today, and no one had seen him. We joked that he was like a little kid saying, 'Mom's not home, so I'll skip school!' and then we moved on. Another woman I work with muttered something about him being a 'rich momma's boy', and 'whining to mommy and getting a new car'. She said that last a couple times, and you can just *feel* the (oh, I'm gonna sound new agey here, but whatever), the negativity, the *sourness* rolling off, in her tone, in her posture. She was *pissed* about this, and, yeah, jealous. Envious. After a few times of her saying it, I finally asked, 'did his mom buy him a new car?' 'YEAH!' 'okay' and I turned back to my work. She finished what she was doing, and went back to her desk, silent. And, seriously, it left me a little nauseous.
I mean, what difference does it make who bought who what? Is being mad about it going to suddenly make a new *yadda* appear for you? Do you think God is going to lean down and go, 'YOU'RE RIGHT, THAT'S NOT FAIR. HERE YOU GO. HAVE ONE. HAVE A DOZEN!' Nope. All that happens is you harbor this black emotion in your heart, deep down, and it poisons you. You focus on all the things you don't have, and how wrong it is that other people (people who don't need/deserve them as much as *you* do) *do* have them. How is that good? How is that constructive? Can't you be happy for the other person? Even if you don't *like* the other person, if you can't be *happy* for them, can't you just be neutral about it?