Acknowledging Achievements, Acquisitions, and Accomplisments
in an Envious World
“It is extremely hard for some people to see others succeed.”
Like most of my blog topics, the idea for this week was born from the wonderful experience of sharing interesting thoughts with a friend. I had to agree with the comment wholeheartedly. I have seen it all too often; some human beings have a very hard time giving praise, encouragement, and even acknowledging when others have achieved, aquired, or accomplished important things in their lives. We see this even at a young age, with middle aged children, teenagers, and into adulthood. It can take the form of bullying, negative comments, talking behind someone’s back, and even silence. Why is it so hard for some of us to appreciate and admire someone else’s success?
Once again, I don’t have the one, right answer to this huge question, because I don’t really believe that there is only one. I think there are many reasons why it is hard to watch and to acknowledge when others succeed.
ENVY : one of the notorious “Seven Deadly Sins”. In the ancient Greek theory of medecine it was believed that an imbalance of certain “humours” produced one’s physical symptoms. Jealousy or envy was considered to result in an excess of bile, which would give a pale – greenish cast to the skin. In Shakespeare’s “Othello”, Iago refers to jealousy as the “green-eyed monster”, a phrase that has stuck through the centuries (information courtesy of funtrivia.com). We may feel jealous or envious that others have achieved, acquired, or accomplished the very things that we might want for ourselves. It is hard to look outside of our own little domain at times to realize how good this accomplishment, achievement, or acquisition might be to someone else’s life and to be genuinely happy for them. Most of us can agree that we have all been there, been “green with envy”, whether we want to admit it or not.
OBLIVION: forgetfulness or not even thinking about it. Some of us may just not even think of complimenting or drawing attention to someone else’s success, especially if it doesn’t affect us in a big way. Or it may appear as a fleeting thought – ‘I should say something about Jane’s promotion at work’ – but then, just as fleetingly, the thought leaves. We sometimes fail to make a conscious effort to acknowledge or remember that one thing we can say to congratulate someone on a job well done.
CHOICE / RELUCTANCE : deciding not to acknowledge or being reluctant to do so. This may be because of envy, but we may just decide not to say anything because we either don’t know what to say, we are reluctant to say anything for fear it might be the taken the “wrong” way, or we simply just choose not to say it. For some, it may the line of thought that the achiever already knows that he/she did a good job, so why state the obvious?
AMBIVALENCE: not caring (or, at least claiming not to care) or thinking someone else will do what we neglect to. Sometimes we sit back and say that we don’t care about others’ achievements, it doesn’t matter to us that someone has succeeded, and what does it really matter if we praise them anyway? Someone else will tell them that they did a good job, so we don’t have to. And, besides, if that person is encouraged they might go on to accomplishing more and more, fueling our ENVY, OBLIVION, AMBIVALENCE, etc. and creating a vicious cycle.
Harold Coffin (a former humour columnist for The Associated Press) said : “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings, instead of your own.” I have to admit that I have been envious of others’ blessings. I have sat back and witnessed other people achieving their goals, acquiring things that I wished I could have, and even accomplishing the very things that I have set my heart on accomplishing myself. Personally, I’ve actually found it helpful to acknowledge these positive achievements when I see them happening in and to other people. It makes me feel better when I can be happy for someone else, especially when my feelings are veering dangerously close to the tinge of green: envy and jealousy. If I can re-direct the feelings of negativity into positive thoughts, the whole situation will be much more pleasant for everyone. If I can see how other people have been blessed, I will perhaps more openly notice and be aware of my own blessings.
I truly believe that there is always something positive that can be said about any person or situation, sometimes we just have to look a little more closely for it. Praise and encouragement does not take anything away from the giver, it gives to the giver and to the receiver. Watching the beginning of a grateful smile, witnessing a noticeable surge of pride across the face of the achiever, and seeing the shining eyes of someone filled with sincere self confidence are rewards that only the giver of commendation can truly appreciate. Why wouldn’t we want to help someone to feel good about themselves as they deservedly should?
We are all capable of encouraging and acknowledging the accomplishments of others. The ability to share positivity, encouragement, and praise lies within our psyche, and just like the blood that runs through our veins, it’s in us to give. We can battle the green-eyed monster and win. We are capable of acknowledging achievements, acquisitions, and accomplishments even in a world where it is often easier, and more prevalent, to envy than to praise.
(Dear Readers, A continuous thank you for your reads, likes, comments, and shares! I am extremely proud to say that Writing For The Love Of It is now read in 8 different countries! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My love to you all! ~ K ~)