“Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life…Charity rejoices in our neighbor’s good, while envy grieves over it.” – Thomas Aquinas
One of the leading causes of stress and anxiety that plagues modern society is envy. A perfect example of how envy can wreak havoc is shown in the movie, which is also entitled “Envy.” The movie tells the story of Tim (Ben Stiller) and Nick (Jack Black), best friends who also shared the same predicament at the office: complete boredom. That spell of boredom was broken when Nick hit “big time” by inventing an aerosol spray that makes dog droppings (poop) disappear or vanish into thin air. Nick became a millionaire because of his unique invention. Tim, on the other hand, was still stuck in his “old dreary existence.” Soon enough, Tim became filled with envy as he watched Nick’s lifestyle change from being a regular guy into a multi-millionaire.
Envy has been a human problem since the beginning of time. In the bible, the tragic effects of envy was illustrated in the story of Cain and Abel, sons of Adam. The story about the first ever murder recorded in human history is told in Genesis 4:3-8, where it says that:
“In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought the fat, fatlings, or milk from the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”
This story shows us that envy, if left uncontrolled, can lead to very serious consequences. When we equate happiness with money, popularity, success and a perfect relationship — envy is not far behind. When we constantly compare ourselves to other people, we will always fall into the trap of “not being good enough.” A feeling of discontent and frustration sinks in every time we covet what others are blessed with.
If you indulge in thoughts like those, you will never be happy with what you have. Nothing good will ever happen to you because you see all things in a negative light, regardless of how it impacts your life. Our words, thoughts, and deeds have a profound effect not just on your own life but on others as well. Take control of the green eyed monster; it will only make a slave out of you. When we thirst for the things that don’t last and things on which you cannot bring it with you; your insatiable thirst will turn into agony because it is never satisfied.
What is really important is peace of mind, true love and undying friendship…now that is real wealth. Fulfillment is not about being perfect and having everything you want. Get rid of envy and be thankful for what you have. Change your behavior and your attitude. Practice living within your means and leading a simple life. Don’t let negative thoughts rob you of your energy. Start getting rid of envy today, not tomorrow and freedom from stress will then be in your reach.