The devil of envy

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Robert Maurer
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The devil of envy

Last update: 04 September, 2015

“Envy is a thousand times more terrible than hunger

Because it is spiritual hunger. "

Miguel de Unamuno

The young disciple of a wise philosopher comes to his house and tells him:

  • Master, a friend spoke of you with malevolence.
  • Wait, - the philosopher interrupts him - You used the three filters for what you are about to tell me?
  • The three filters? - asks the disciple.
  • Yes, the first and the truth. Are you sure what you are about to tell me is absolutely true?
  • No, I heard the neighbors talking about it.
  • Then, you will have at least used the second filter, the goodness. Can what you want to tell me do me any good?
  • No, on the contrary ...
  • The last filter is the need. Do I need to know this thing that upsets you so much?
  • Actually, no.
  • Well, - says the wise man with a smile - if it is neither true, nor good, nor necessary, let's bury it in oblivion.

Human relationships would be much healthier if, before we spread rumors, we subjected them to the filters of truth, goodness and necessity. It is difficult for everyone to use these three principles when faced with gossip, but there are people who are absolutely unable to hold back their desire to criticize. What's behind all this? The darkness of envy.



Envy is the deadliest virus there is: it ruins relationships and cancels feelings, emotions and people. It is extremely dangerous, for the simple fact that anyone can fall into its trap; it is such an extensive virus that it has reached pandemic levels. It is very important that we vaccinate against it, both to avoid trying it and suffering from it.



Under the deception of envy, gossips and gossip, there is a terrible and ruthless devil: the lack of self-esteem and self-love. The greatest weapon that envy has to attack us is to predispose us to a negative comparison.

We know that no comparison is welcomeespecially as it reflects our frustrations like a mirror. In other words, what we crave destroys us, because it demonizes the attainment of aspirations not yet achieved, causing us to divert attention from the virtues we enjoy.

Envy, moreover, brings out the darker and darker side of the human being. It is not just a lack of love for oneself; envy confirms one of humanity's most uncomfortable truths: hatred of the talent and success of others. It is easier to channel frustration into judgment and criticism than into acknowledging our inferiority complex.

We often ask ourselves what drives the envious to try envy, but at the same time the burden that the envied must bear is underestimated. The fact of being envied by others is a real torture: it makes you move away from reality and generates mistrust.

There are times when people who are envied no longer know who their true friends are and who their enemies, who they can trust and who they can't; They even go so far as to doubt their success, wondering whether it is deserved or not, as gossips claim. This it can create a constant chain of suffering and insecurities.

Of course, we will not be able to completely eliminate envy from our lives, but we will be able to mitigate it. We can start by applying the filters explained above (truth, goodness and necessity); we must work on the feeling of self-love and on our identity and thus create an inner life that prevents us from being maliciously interested in the successes and failures of others. The spark of envy that we carry within must be used to achieve those still unfulfilled goals.



For overcoming the suffering caused by "being envied", it must be said that there is a need for some basic experience: you cannot start building a house from the roof. We know that certain events give rise to comparisons: our greatness can bring out the limits of others, just as the victories of others can highlight our weaknesses.


Having said that, it is good to savor our virtues in a different way: showing others that they too can do it, so that they can try their hand at it and we can help them. Because, just as greed and envy destroy us, admiration strengthens us.

Images courtesy of nuvolanevicata and Africa Studio

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