Updated: Apr 6
Now, I am very aware that the word ‘envy’ really doesn’t have the best connotations or set a peaceful start to this post . I can already sense the sense of foreboding it is generating as I type this in the most discrete seat in Costa Coffee shop during my Sunday lunch break . Aside from all the negative light which surrounds the very existence of this word , I wanted to see if this could at all be challenged. At the end of the day , we should be given the freedom to interpret and decide how certain statements or words make us feel. The beauty of literature , after all.
Let me bring some context into this. From a Biblical perspective it is classified as a deadly sin , and myself being raised in a South Asian Islamic culture the connotations around envy are far from pleasant . We Call it ‘Hasad’ in Arabic or ‘Nazar’ in Urdu but essentially the concept is that if you possess a trait or characteristic that someone else is lacking they may inflict a ‘gaze’ or ‘evil eye’ on you which can be detrimental to your health ; be it physical or mental and it can even affect your wealth. Some of you reading this right now may align this to superstition and hence disregard this whole post . I completely understand this but it really is quite interesting to know that so many of the worlds population are inclined to believe in it and so I would like that to be validated.
Human psychology is very fascinating ; we do not want to taste the negative effects of envy but we ourselves are providing the recipe book for it with our social media posts or even our own word of mouth. Expensive gifts, lavish holidays and relationship ‘goals’ . I do question, why we do this? Do we want to incite envy in others or do we want others to be positively influenced by this. I mean if one of your followers happens to be recovering from an abusive relationship or has lost their job … I don’t know if seeing your picture perfect relationship or financial stability will be healing for them.
It clear though, that as a generation some of us starting to becoming more self- aware and learning to be careful about who we are sharing our wins with and whether their intentions towards us are free from malice. Becoming ‘low-key’ and taking breaks from social media can even be due to reasons such as this ; ultimately with the aim of protecting our energy (Pa salieu’s verse merry go rounding in my ears right now , haha).
However, I also do think that over- fixating on this concept and constantly trying to decipher the intentions of those around us , can actually make you quite cynical. Envy has a different meaning for me; for me the outcome is just as important as the input energy. If it comes from a place of malice where we dislike a person or object so much that the projection can only be toxic and negative , it is an indicator that some groundwork and time needs to be set aside to work on our own internal issues. Accountability , after all.
Having a support network is important ; friends and family . Yes, not all will have the purest intentions towards you but what is life without making mistakes . I do regret oversharing personal matters with certain people in the past ; but I’ve tasted the bitter end of the stick due to this and now I am more aware . I cannot beat myself over it ; as its important to remember the saying that is as simple as ‘ no point crying over spilt milk’ . As long as you learn and grow from it , then yes , that is a catalyst for your self-growth.
As my interest in the humanitarian field grows and my commitment for it also ; through becoming a team leader for Human Appeal (which provides international and local humanitarian aid and support ) , I have to say I have grown to admire the work of so many before me. My biggest inspiration would have to be Abdul Sattar Edhi . He was a humanitarian who founded the Edhi Foundation which runs the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network , along with various homeless shelters, animal shelters and orphanages across Pakistan. I can only admire and look up to figures like him; who have revolutionised this field and I guess in a way I’d like to bring a positive twist towards the so called negative word ‘envy’ when it comes to him. I want to do just as much good or even more than him.
Further expanding on this point, as a young child during the holy month of Ramadan I would also watch adverts for Muslim Aid where I used to witness volunteers in deployments abroad providing care and support for the disadvantaged . I WANTED TO BE JUST like them and I can perhaps say I envied what they had. I wanted to be in their position. I would like to point out though it really did not come from a place of malice. I guess this ‘envy’ was actually quite constructive towards helping me recognise where my true calling is and we can even call it ‘purpose’. I am now , thankfully in a position where I can do exactly that ; by being a team leader I can be exactly like those people in the adverts that I saw. Am I glad that I ‘envied’ those volunteers in the advert ; YES ! Because I utilised it to achieve a positive outcome. A manifestation of some sort , I guess .
What works for me (I’m aware not one shoe size fits all , but I’d like to share it anyways ), is that if I notice that I am projecting my own insecurities onto someone else who possesses what I want ; I pray for that blessing to be maintained on the other person. Self-awareness and recognising changes to our behaviour is essential; as I would not like to project malice onto others; it just doesn’t fit well with who I am trying to be … looking at inspirations like Abdul Sattar Edhi is a humbling reminder for me .
Overall, I guess envy doesn’t always deserve the complete negative connotations . In fact , it may just be a driving force for us to change our own circumstances ; and there it is my core belief of not everything is just black and white coming out onto this post.
Take care guys x