Sometimes it's not the envy itself that's hard, everyone faces envy, there's no one who doesn't.
What's hard is seeing envious people get caught up in fear, never take any risks to find out if they're really as good as they imagined themselves to be, see them hit the same walls, run in the same circles, thinking the same way and crashing the same way.
The truth is a lot of people convince themselves they have high esteem when they stayed in their comfort zone out of a fear of failure, not because they genuinely have high esteem.
The word esteem has been overused, severely distorted and overrated as well. Overly confident untrained people often throw it out whenever they can't figure something out.
Just like the vague frequent use of "insecure" for those who didn't study feminist, race or queer theory. This reduction of any kind of hostility into a generalisation of insecurity or low esteem couches discrimination into an individual's personal moral failing instead of reveals it as part of a larger systemic picture of a group of people doing the same things through different ways, operating out of the same observable trend.
Another truth is that disempowered people usually don't know they have low esteem, they usually think they have high esteem, confusing their privileges for merit, thinking their achievements are all due to their superiority and not based on superior social conditions. This mistake means even those who work 2 times harder in an attempt to overcome poverty just become overworked and suffer other medical ailments that require them to pay out the money they earned, keeping them trapped in their socioeconomic station.
While that's not to say some don't make it, they also have individual innate reasons they didn't earn, such as talent, intelligence, abled bodies. They also don't get involved in activism because it is bad for business.
It is however capitalism that needs to change not stopping activism.
By inflating the value they bring to the table, when the other party suffer their projection of devaluation and wonder why they themselves gained so much experience and knowledge, have to tolerate their ignorance and arrogance plus social pressure to help them, the conversation shuts down.
If they're not exhausted, I'm exhausted observing them.
Envious people tend to stand on the sidelines of their own lives, become benchwarmers and therefore never grow. The only thing that grows is their envy, which will start from projecting at one person to projecting at more people as their lives unravel further. As their lives feel more out of control, they control the impossible things to control, including you and your reactions to them, expecting unrealistic results or special treatment that no one gets.
They then get caught in a loop of disappointment, resentment, self blame and lack of motivation.
Therefore why it's important to understand the value of empathy and not enable envious people who wish you ill with rewards of empathy. When you don't value kindness enough, you will use it mindlessly, often to self sabotage. When you don't have enough self love, you will also use it to self sabotage, this can become a lifelong cycle of a diminished life.
Envious people withhold empathy to punish the people they want to be and fail to be all the time, your withholding is so you don't enable them. You can redirect your energy to cooperative people who want to see other other do well, people who're open to working together, not against each other.
A reaction to deliver a just consequence isn't the same as someone who doesn't take responsible for their emotional states. You didn't want their envy, it is them burdening you with issues that isn't yours, it is not your job to help them dismantle it.
They often overestimate how easy things are because they're seldom self motivated to experience anything personally, waiting to take directions from others. You end up working harder than them at their problems and they won't be appreciative even then.
While this isn't personal, it does mean they cannot appreciate earned merit either, they will convince themselves your earned merit is privilege by skimming social issues and you know that isn't it at all.
Drawing boundaries is so you won't start to become bitter and resentful of them in due time, they would be happy to see you fall, the narcissistic type will go out of their way to sabotage you as well, don't let them get that satisfaction!
Resentment is drinking poison and hoping your enemies will die, it makes you complicit in your own demise.
Boundaries include knowing when to set them, being confident that the problem isn't you and you deserve all the good things you worked so hard to achieve and absolutely refuse to them exploit it out of you.
Needing help and being exploitative isn't always mutually exclusive.
If you have survivor guilt, it helps to write down a clear list of your investment in your wellbeing.
Some things include paying for therapy, learning emotional resilience skills, paying for four years of college, buying books, spiritual nourishment, equipment, tools, dedicating to self care such as exercise, eating well and much more.
All of these daily good habits contribute to your success, if you really add it up, don't be surprised how large that sum is.
Your life is valuable, you cannot buy back time that has passed, no matter how wealthy you're, so time is even more valuable than money. Always remember this, if you use your life to do volunteer work, it has value, people unable to see value doesn't mean it doesn't have value.
Even a rough count will show you why you deserve your wellbeing.
Jealousy is often confused with envy, when jealousy is someone not wanting you to have what they have, envy is someone wanting what you have, it's different.
It doesn't help that jealous people can imagine they have something of value that you want, the most common is a distorted view of morality.
Since morality is subjective, it's shaped by exposure, culture, upbringing and education, we cannot please everyone at all times, wanting to do so will burden you till no end.
We all know the basics, it's good to be honest, to practice kindness, to help those in need, it doesn't mean people aren't more competitive than they're cooperative no matter what we're doing. Some people have the habit of fighting more than they bridge, the reality is that they just drag the same people they need to depend on down.
Most people aren't murderers, rapists, pedophiles, etc, they however can be dysfunctional or abusive. Abusive people are more common than people think, it's because it's so common, you hardly see anti domestic violence advocates be publicly visible, most are behind anonymous accounts, they know it will hurt them socially, psychologically and financially to speak up.
Yet, some people cannot set down their envy to support visible human rights defenders who're fighting the issues they encounter because they themselves haven't healed from their own pain enough to have a clear understanding of which part is really them, which is trauma driven and which is social conditioning.
Remember that people can be envious of how empowered you're as well, having loads of envious people isn't always such a bad thing, it means you possess what they want.
It's important to take a positive look at yourself when it happens, spend time assuring yourself, not internalise other people's disapproval into something wrong with you, but have gratitude you have what they don't have, that is your strength, you built yourself up and it's OK to celebrate that!
It's important to give yourself credit where credit is due, not forget to find clarity between what's real and what's false.
I have indeed encountered some volunteers who were more competitive about volunteerism than those I met in the extremely competitive cut-throat corporate world.
People fighting to do free labour is the craziest thing to me, I'm more concerned people don't get exploited by others, they're busying undermining me and each other, not to mention having double standards at the same time.
The reality is their imagined "integrity" is as low class as them, they have no standards, they have failed my standards I have lived up to for a lifetime, there is no reason to be around them at all.
People can be just as competitive in activism even if there's no money in it, not getting paid doesn't make people less prone to envy. Which of course is the irony of them also shouting about vague ideas of evil soulless corrupt capitalists on the other hand.
Their judgement is way off and you will find you cannot rely on envious people not just due to envy alone but for many other reasons. People who have lousy judgement put the people around them at risk of exploitation as well.
The truth is that they're also envious of wealthy people, it's not the injustice they mind more, it's the wealth they think they deserve but refuse to dedicate themselves to earning.
It's them being wishful thinkers that wealthy people should be mindlessly generous to them. But wealthy people didn't get a handout, they never did rely on state or other people's help, because they're realistic, they know no one will come to save them so they better work to save themselves. That's not to say they're all cynical, cold and calculated, many are warm, empathetic and kind but it flies over the heads of envious people.
They have no clue how economics work and no clue how financial freedom is an important form of liberation. Sometimes they can't even do the simple math of plus and minus budgeting.
This happens even when it comes to free volunteer labour since volunteerism actually isn't free. To even think there is such a thing as free labour, thinking like that IS exploitation and it is discriminatory.
Much of it ends up benefitting the hands of the same privileged rich connected people already in power, the rest who amplify and disseminate are just stuck in the loop of being forgettable nobodies, pawns to be shifted around. The more intelligent an activist is, the more an activist has self love, the quicker they opt out of such movements.
To be a good volunteer demands competency as well, it's not as if an uneducated person will suddenly become an educated one just by slapping on a label of feminist, queer, trans or activist.
In a country with a robust activism climate, for example those in the Global North, you will see mediocre people rising to the top, it is not about competency at all.
It has become too easy and easy means low standards while overshadowing more competent people from the Global South, this means competent confident people dropping out due to constantly being undervalued, taken for granted and many times even abused.
Competent people can find straight up earning money the 9 to 5 corporate way is far easier, there is no reason to endure so much stress and still be demonised at the end of the day.
A movement then loses it's value as a whole because power keeps on being centralised into the hands of a controlling few who don't get how they need to delegate, there're limits to what even the healthiest bodies can do in a day, no matter how competent they're.
People get disillusioned, find no true concrete contributions to their daily survival needs, how can someone mobilise constantly for free when they have so many worries about basic survival needs?
When intelligent people have so many possible avenues to make life work for them, there's no need to settle for scraps, it's always much worse to settle than to hold out and stand alone while aiming for what you truly want.
Whenever I do that, I get it eventually, 100%.
Far too much activism is wasted effort, a part of it is even causing more harm than good. For example anti racist activists who don't take gender inequality into consideration will further marginalise minority race women at the end of the day.
Many self proclaimed activists also have double standards, they might not be able to handle discrimination one way, they're happy to be complicit in another. Therefore why intersectionality is difficult for many black and white thinkers, they just want to campaign for one cause and want the rest to fall in line without concern for the causes that affect their lives directly, polarising a movement into different segments that look out for only themselves.
Someone without formal credentials might over estimate their contributions into a vague idea of doing excellent emotional labour when they're more disruptive and argumentative than helpful and empathetic. They have no real skills other than feeling bad, it's all about hurt feelings, complaining about tiny daily infractions and issues so minute, it's a little frightening how small their lives are and how much they have settled.
The problem is lot of injured people have difficulties taking ownership of their lives, especially those with many intersections, to ask them to continue to labour for free is spoiling the earning potential of females, destroying our financial wellbeing as a whole.
Their thoughts can be shallow, they have no critical thinking skills, perceiving someone else's amplification not as kindness but as earned merit. If they have superiority complexes, they will assume it's because they're superior to you, power trip and start to attempt to govern you, creating a cautious reluctance within the next time you want to help someone like them.
This becomes the fear of people being embolden via getting social currency, we witness too many cases of people power tripping after they were helped. I'm sure we have also encountered a couple of those people personally ourselves, they start weaponising the knowledge we taught them back at us, test out their empowerment with the same people who empowered them and attempt to climb over our heads because they assume we're naive enough not to consider this possibility.
We have tried, lived and gotten back stabbed by too many envious people to ever want to entertain it again.
Not everyone who needs help is the grateful logical kind, loads of people need help in this world, we can only pick and choose an area to specialise in and even that not many are interested in mastering anything.
Remember to practice self kindness and forgive yourself when you hit your limits, helping people isn't easy, the only ones who ever thought so are the same people who aren't easy to help or never did help others, it's just all empty hogwash.
They don't think about what value do they genuinely bring to the table? Are they saying something really so exceptional, are they really that outstanding?
Jealousy also has nothing to do with how competent someone is as well, people who feel jealous can be very competent, they might be high performing insecure people, they can be super underachievers as well.
The people in spite of the best conditions, loving supportive parents, free education and free universal healthcare, born and bred in first world nations with plenty of opportunities, they can still fail as well, there is something to be said about self determination.
Give yourself credit, you kept trying, you're learning and growing.
They might not know how to overcome their fears because they don't have enough knowledge to know what're their subconscious motivations. They often fail at unpacking and processing their frustrations, finding insights on how to move forward.
All these need education, practice and experience, they want to use more competent people to cut corners while displaying arrogance at the same time.
That will not do.
But of course, you need proper psychological training and work experience to be able to do it well. Being a layperson psychologist isn't a requirement for our existence, nor is it a requirement to find joy and inner peace while we thrive to be the best we can be.
Many common struggles are depicted as social discrimination, while social discrimination does make these struggles worse, marginalised people can also feel entitled to free services by more successful marginalised people who work far longer hours than them, because you're part of a "community".
Activism is a double edged sword, you can find like minded people who're passionate about a cause, you can also find yourself buried under a mountain of injured people all demanding help, feeling utterly overwhelmed and end up not being supported at all, just more drained.
So they just assume someone is naturally a "strong" person, make up stories in their heads about you having a luxurious relaxed life free of suffering therefore they can justify their sense of entitlement to not reciprocate.
Some jealous people avoid addressing their jealousy by enacting a personal ranking system in their heads, this system is usually one conditioned into them, a direct replication of a broken system out of their control, it has programmed them to believe what isn't their responsibility is and what is isn't.
They will fill in the blanks however they want, continue to be jealous, then they use the idea of pay it forward to people they consider more in need.
The problem is there will always be more urgent cases just like there will always be someone below you in the social ladder and someone above you as well. This is something that will not change over a lifetime, so this measure is as good as saying, "you're on your own, you don't deserve empathy", "you're on your own, you don't deserve help", which is what it boils down to in the eyes of jealous people.
However, if they have a victim mentality, they will always feel short changed and feel they're more in need than they truly are, even when they're swimming in a land of opportunities that people in other countries can only dream of.
They want new people to make up for how people in the past has hurt them, they want innocent safe parties to help them as they can continue to not want to give credit where credit is due.
This ends up being a self fulfilling prophecy of injured marginalised people always attempting to help each other for free while their lack of social station is used back as a justification that marginalised people are good for nothings.
Envious people with victim mentalities can imagine people have it perfectly good even, they can develop delusional thinking that there're people who do experience an utopian existence just because of one kind of privilege or just because of the thing they have developed single minded obsession about. Be it looks, wealth, fame, career or romantic success, that person will never have any kind of life crisis, do not have struggles and will be forever insulated.
That is the kind of fairytale life they want and they hate on anyone who have a tiny slice of that life.
It is not your job to explain to them what's the reality of your life. It doesn't help they usually push away the same people who're capable of helping them, talk about self sabotage!
Having an inner saboteur is also what many people battle, envious people are too caught up in their own envy to even gauge when you have grown, accusing you of "changing", feeling abandoned by you even if you never promised to bring them along.
It is their own trust issues acting up and they want to scapegoat you too.
They're so overwhelmed by their own inability to cope, the only way is find a convenient scapegoat, usually someone kind enough to not be as vicious back.
Which of course exhausts the kind people around them, when they all up and go at some point, now they can once again resort to pessimistic thinking, complaining no one cares and everyone is selfish.
The truth is they're most the selfish people around, they're not holding themselves accountable, they're not dutiful in their self care, they're not dutifully trying their best to be objective.
It doesn't help that trauma can cause desensitisation, numbness and apathy as well, not to mention witnessing trauma can mean taking on the effects of secondary trauma, something need not happen directly to you to affect you.
It can happen to your family or friends, your community or your nation, it can trigger all kinds of complex emotions, drag up unresolved pain and have nothing to do with the matter at hand at all, which is also why so many people cannot take things in context as well.
This is also why sometimes envious people want to stay injured, so they can give up responsibility to others, they can wallow in self pity, can relax as others take on the bulk of their wellbeing they don't want to deal with.
Envious people can "feel free" by being irresponsible, they can put all their energy into one area, expecting others to prop them up in other areas, as they gain public accolades, taking the credit of invisible helpers behind the scenes.
Someone with a victim mentality can now gain social clout easily on social media, since so many people have it, don't know they have it and so many don't want to face it, they want to be temporarily soothed by hearing nice grand proclamations, great words of bravado.
Even if they know they have it, they might need an outlet to vent, need to find solace in a community that encounters the same struggles. The problem is they end up enabling each other to live a diminished life, finding it even harder to self define. They end up experiencing an increase in guilt and shame when some start to infight, causing more stress and making it harder to reconcile their own dilemmas within a chaotic environment.
It's easy to draw a crowd, get attention, rely on external validation in exchange for genuine self esteem and even make a career out of a victim mentality. One thing you have to remember when you face their hostility is that they will one day have to face themselves just like everyone else, whatever unaddressed fears will escalate and make them implode soon enough. When that time comes, they will sure wish they didn't push kind reliable people away!
Remove yourself from them the first chance you get, it is their jobs to reconcile their envy with you if you want to, not your job to even start "the talk".
If not they will find themselves having more people to be envious of, as those who do self examine, improve and rise above zoom ahead of them.
A lot of people are entitled and have learned helplessness, these two bad habits come together, someone can feel powerless in all areas of life as well, not just one, they can feel too lost to even being to know which part to start addressing.
Way too many need professional help and not the help of family and friends, expecting dual role playing is just destroying their relationships instead.
The good news is once you decide to take charge of one area of your life, you can apply similar methods to the other areas and your quality of life can improve drastically, your hard work will pay off.
We all have basic survival needs and this includes emotional support, if you're not getting any, you need to redirect more to yourself.
Only those who dedicate themselves to mastery are bringing value to the table, I'm afraid plenty of people overrate their importance in someone else's lives, you lost nothing by not having them around and they stay stuck indefinitely.
Feel free to find me on social media at the buttons above.
Eshet chayil, God is a She
Other social media platforms below
Pinterest - blackilocks
Quora - Min Lim
Admin of Handmade Singapore Facebook Group
Admin of Creative Spirited Women meetup group in Singapore