Friday, January 20, 2012


If you have ever caught yourself feeling slightly angry and dismissive about things you don't have, you might be suffering from invidia. No, that is not a misspelling of a brand name for popular computer components. The term describes a specific form of envy, although it encompasses far more than the English word does. Invidia comes mixed with anger, and with a belief that others somehow lied, stole or cheated their way to success.

Any time you lack basic necessities, invidia may rear its ugly head, which makes it especially difficult to combat. That anger and resentment manifest in your voice and demeanor. Rather than helping you get your basic needs met, that resentment causes others to rear back and blame you for your lack of resources. As difficult as it may be to be happy for others when they receive an award, earn a position, snag available work hours or find a bargain that you desperately needed, the only way to combat invidia is to congratulate that person on his good fortune.

For those who have the basics and a little more, however, there is a flip side to invidia that should never be ignored. While it does not have its own term, this reverse form of invidia motivates people to trumpet their success to someone they know lacks basic needs. The successful one knows the other person lacks key resources, but just can't resist twisting the knife. This need to dog the other person in order to enjoy one's own success baffles me.

I enjoy hearing about the things that go right for others. I am on my own path, which will eventually lead to the things I want from life. Right now, a few of those things are lacking, but that is temporary. So until my own goals come to fruition, I am very happy to hear that things are working out for others. It keeps me motivated when I am tempted to give up.

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