The daily smile goes to the movie Amadeus today. In confession, I watched it about a week ago. I took my time with this post, partly due to procrastination and partly because I wanted to write more than a single paragraph review post. You see, I think I watched this film at exactly the right moment – even though it was created 4 years before I was born. It centers around the topic of jealousy, which I have been researching lately.
I recently read a few articles (see sources) regarding the so-called jealousy effect of social networking, especially Facebook. In particular, this line stood out to me:
After all, it’s human nature to compare ourselves with others. But experts say it’s Facebook’s in-your-face updates that can provoke depression, anxiety and envy. And it’s hitting teens and adults alike.1
Is that our nature? I suppose, especially at the often delicate time for people’s self-esteem that centers around New Year’s resolutions. Maybe in small doses, jealousy even encourages some people to do better. Imagine for instance that you see photos from your friend’s vacation in Bermuda, where you have wanted to travel your entire life. It may irk you a little, but it could inspire you to finally make time for that trip instead of sitting back and seething at your friend.
But taken to the extreme, as in the case of Amadeus, envy can indeed stir up some internal ugliness. The movie provides a good check-yourself moment. Saliere cannot maintain his admiration for Mozart without bitterness. The entire, beautiful movie centers on his incapacity to be happy for another whom he deems undeserving. The acting is incredible, too.
Anyway, we can’t blame Facebook for jealousy. Sure, the social networking experience may magnify those emotions, especially as we now know that people tend to portray their lives through rose-tinted pixels online. But the feelings ultimately stem from our own tendency to compare and the resulting insecurities. If you log onto Facebook and find yourself stewing in resentment, perhaps some self-work is needed. I recommend watching Amadeus and then perhaps, to use the old cliché, counting your own blessings. We can and should be better than such base vices as envy. I leave you with some words from others about the matter.
It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.
Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.
Above all, you must fight conceit, envy, and every kind of ill-feeling in your heart.