Struggles with Envy

Envy is competitive. Unlike other sins that grant very temporary satisfaction to someone, envy doesn’t ever bring someone pleasure. It removes joy, brings pain, and leads to other sins…the worst being hatred. The prideful person often finds himself arriving here: at envy. But the good news is that you don’t have to be chained down by envy any more.

What is envy?

Envy is the resentment or sorrow at the good fortune of another. Envy can be dangerous, in that while jealousy seeks to possess, envy seeks to destroy.

Living with envy

If you’ve ever experienced envy, you know how unhappy and on-edge it makes you. Envy causes is to find other people’s successes threatening, have a “grass is always greener” attitude that becomes destructive to our own happiness, and to wish misfortune on others who are more prosperous. Envy can even cause us to get annoyed with those who are more virtuous than we are. But there is good news. Through prayer and some hard work, you can free yourself from the heavy burdens that envy brings and the damage it can cause to you and your relationship with God. You can treat your envy by working on the virtue that helps temper our envy: admiration, brotherly love, solicitude. 

What do the experts say?

“Envy’s word is, ‘I’m just as good as you.’” –Dr. Peter Kreeft

“So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation.” –1 Peter 2:1-2

“Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility.” –CCC 2540

“Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother’s progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised.” –St. John Chrysostom

How do I treat my envy?

By cultivating its opposing virtue: admiration, brotherly love, solicitude.