According to the sources, an angel takes a drop of semen before a person is born and asks the Creator what will become of it: a hero or a weakling, a wise man or a fool, a rich man or a poor man. But it doesn’t say if he will become righteous or wicked.
Therefore, we have to focus all our attention only on that. Everything else is predetermined and there is nothing we can do about it. People who have lived a long time know that what you are is what you will be and that a person doesn’t change. There is no way you can change yourself.
So we shouldn’t have complaints about anyone, but simply should try to help a person become a righteous. Then all his negative qualities and discernments will suddenly become so useful that you will simply be very happy.
The higher a person is spiritually, the more his qualities are revealed as negative so he will be able to correct them. So when the greatest righteous are in a state of descent, they appear to be very egoistic people: irritable, angry, grumpy, stingy, etc. On the one hand, most of these qualities are revealed internally and no one feels it on the outside. But on the other hand, it says: “He who is greater than his friend, his desire is even greater.”
Envy is the most wonderful quality and it should actually be cultivated and increased, as it says: “The envy of authors will increase wisdom.” The reason is that if you see it correctly, then you can be greatly impressed by the positive qualities of the friends, by their achievements, their adhesion to the group in order to bestow; I see how they succeed while I don’t. This is the right kind of envy! I don’t try to humiliate the friends’ qualities and to annul them, but rather try to attain these qualities by myself.
There are two ways of using the same attribute correctly: either the negative use of envy when I want to “eliminate” a friend who succeeds or when I want to become even better than him.
From the St. Petersburg Convention “Day Two” 7/13/13, Lesson 4