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By:  John L. M.

Envy is the most ridiculous of ideas, for there is no single advantage to be gained from it. Consider this famous old saying: “When you compare what you want with what you have, you will be unhappy. Instead, compare what you deserve with what you have, and you’ll discover happiness.” It’s not trying to keep up with the Joneses that causes so much trouble. It’s trying to pass them.

Washington Allston reflected, “The only competition worthy of a wise mind is within himself.” Nothing gets you behind faster than trying to keep up with people who are already there.

If envy were a disease, everyone would be sick. Frances Bacon said, “Envy has no holidays. It has no rest.” The envy that compares us to others is foolishness. “But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

“Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Envy is one of the subtlest forms of judging others. Richard Evans said, “May we never let the things we can’t have or don’t have spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have.” What makes us discontented with our personal condition is the absurd belief that others are so much happier that we are. Thomas Fuller said, “Comparison, more than reality, makes men happy or wretched.”

Helen Keller says, “Instead of comparing our lot with those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.” Envy consumes nothing but its own heart. It is a kind of admiration for those whom you least want to praise.

An Irish proverb said, “You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.” You’ll find it’s hard to be as happy as others if you believe others to be happier than they are.

Worry about what other people think of you, and you’ll have more confidence in their opinion than you have in your own. Poor is the one whose pleasures depend on the permission and opinion of others.

Saint Chrysoston reflected, “As a moth gnaws a garment, so doeth envy consume a man.” Envy provides the mud that failure throws at success. There are many roads to an unsuccessful life, but envy is the shortest of them all.


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