Are You Eaten Up With Envy?

by Remi Badozi on November 15, 2010

“Envy” – call it what you may…..green-eyed-monster, insecurity, spitefulness, pettiness or twin to jealousy, one thing is for sure…it is a deadly sin! It is so deadly, it blocks success. As you may or may not be aware, success is a journey;  aEnvyjourney that requires patient and perseverance. Therefore, it is  highly unlikely that an envious person would reach that place of  success until they part with envy because success is sometimes found  in waiting but an envious person can not wait, they are too busy  comparing notes and pulling others down to realise they are on    a journey to SUCCESS.

Admittedly, we would rather others don’t outdo us; we prefer to be    the ones on top, have the best house, cars, spouse etc. It is very rare  to find anyone completely free of envy. As humans we all have it in us,  it is when we find ourselves unable to bear the good fortune of our  families, friends, or colleagues that we must realize that the envy has become pathological which can destroy relationships.
As a matter of fact, some people feel very uncomfortable in the presence of those who are more accomplished or more successful than them. Envy is so distorting and so lacking in perspective and judgment, I guess that is why it’s considered one of the deadly sins. So deadly that no one finds it readily comfortable to admit to. Let the truth be said, envy is like shooting arrow towards oneself.

I once heard a story about two eagles, one envious of the other because the other could soar higher and more elegantly than he could. So the envious eagle would pluck his strongest feathers from his own body and shoot them as arrows, trying to wound or kill the other eagle. However, being the weaker of the two, he could not hit the high flying eagle but he kept trying. He was so busy plucking his own feather that he was eventually grounded by his lack of feathers. Envy destroyed the eagle.

The envious person often resent another’s good fortune because he/she believes the good fortune should have been his. Life has dealt them cruelly and so they become bitter, angry and unhappy.If care is not taken, the whole episode could even lead to jealousy and then acts of violence – just like the eagle in my story above.

Envy is not only destroyer of the soul, but also of our physical well-being. As the book of Proverbs says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Prov 14:30

To tell the truth, it is pure foolishness……envious people are constantly looking over their shoulders to see if someone else has surpassed them in some way – they are never satisfied with their lives – quite restless.

Who/Why Do We Envy?

  • Most often it is our friends and relatives that we are envious of and this can damage relationships; causing real deep wounds that can sometimes be difficult to heal. Rather than building closeness and unity, envy leads to animosity and creates distance which frequently leads to malicious slander.
  • Those in position of power, like prime ministers, head teachers, directors etc tend to attract envy. The fact that they appear to have the ability to make things happen makes them a target of envy. However, the majority of those in power are not always the brain behind the ideas or decisions they make; there are usually people behind the scene assisting them – yet they are envied.
  • Wise/smart individuals are other victims of envy. Envious people find it very difficult to accept that someone is wiser or smarter than them. Even as they watch someone else gracefully execute the same task that they struggled with.
  • The rich and famous are probably the most envied. As strangely and controversial as it may sound, this type of envy is quite close to home (well, everybody’s home) – it strikes us all regardless of our actual financial footing. We just find it hard not to be envious of those who seem to have made it in life and look as if they are so comfortable with no issues of life to battle with.

How To Push Envy Out – FOR GOOD!

Like I said earlier, we all have a degree of envy in us, if handled wisely it can lead to our uplift. Of course, envy is a natural response to the success of others, but we have God given power to choose the emotions that fill our hearts. If we find ourselves unable to bear the good fortune of others, then we must realize that the envy has become pathological which can destroy relationships.

It is very possible to tame and shut the door at the green-eyed monster in our lives – for good! The main tools required to combat envy are basically learning and developing the feelings of self-worth and self acceptance, for example

  • Know that you have so much to be thankful for and that it is impossible for you to be all things to all people or to possess everything in life that is valued.
  • Accept that we are all different individuals and we each have our unique styles and gifts. Always look for ways to honour others, it takes your focus away from your inadequacies and at such you can look at ways to improve you. There is always something you can learn from others’ accomplishments. Study their approach, styles and methods. Don’t see successful people as only your competitors BUT also as a rich source of invaluable information!
  • Always express your genuine admiration to those that you admire – it draws you closer to such people. Remember the saying: “birds of the same feather flock together”. Before you know it, their success would begin to rob off on you…..and guess who would start to smell of success?

In conclusion, always make the most of what you have and realise God has given each and everyone of us what we need. True wealth is taking pleasure in what we have and living each moment to the fullest. Therefore, stop gauging your happiness on physical assets and start embracing your God-given gifts……ACHIEVEMENT IS IN DOING NOT HAVING!


To Your Success,

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