It is bad enough for one person to resent the achievements, qualities or circumstances of another. But when that feeling of resentment is harboured by an individual to whom one is supposed to be united by a friendly bond, then the situation is truly dreadful. Yet, it is easier to be envious of a friend, confidant or companion than of a stranger. For we are more directly in contact with, and more often made aware of, their successes and fortunes.
The Bantu life philosophy offers us a way of keeping envy at bay. If we were to view our friends –and all people for that matter- not in terms of opposition, but as individuals to whom we are united by our common humanity, it would much easier for us to rejoice at their achievements or luck. If they were more successful than us, we would be delighted that thanks to their success, they are in a better position to serve humanity. The same would be valid if they were healthier, or happier, or more intelligent than us.
So, let’s make an effort and decide to stop envy from killing our friendships. In order to succeed, we should regard all positive things that happen to our friends as potential benefits to all human beings, including ourselves.
By Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell