Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Envy

"Upon every hand we meet with those who have some secret resentment that is ever being nurtured within their hearts. They resent the success, or happiness of some one whom they think is less deserving than they are. They resent the just recognition that comes to others from work and long effort to excel. Or, they may resent being born poor - or resent the fact that they were even born!... Strive to excel, strive to achieve, where others have failed, and you will find no space within your mind to lodge resentment. Resentment is the child of selfishness, foolish envy, and inactivity... Our life upon this earth is too valuable for resentment of any kind. There is so much to do, so much to learn - so little time in which to live and work it all out." - George Matthew Adams

"The essence of envy is a deep desire to be someone else. In its extreme form it is a complete nullification of oneself." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"The will to power, as the modern age from Hobbes to Nietzsche understood it, far from being a characteristic of the strong, is, like envy and greed, among the vices of the weak, and possibly even their most dangerous one. Power corrupts indeed when the weak band together in order to ruin the strong, but not before." -

"Emulation admires and strives to imitate great actions; envy is only moved to malice." - Honoré de Balzac

"Emulation is not rivalry. Emulation is the child of ambition; rivalry is the unlovable daughter of envy." - Honoré de Balzac

"Envy lurks at the bottom of the human heart, like a viper in its hole." - Honoré de Balzac

"How can we explain the perpetuity of envy - a vice which yields no return?" - Honoré de Balzac

"Envy destroys peace of mind and happiness. An envious person’s life is full of suffering and resentment. He is never happy with what he himself has." - Michael Barenbaum

"When we envy another, we make their virtue our vice." -

"If thou takes virtue for the rule of life, and valuest thyself upon acting in all things comfortably thereto, thou wilt have no cause to envy lords and princes; for blood is inherited, but virtue is common property and may be acquired by all; it has, moreover, an intrinsic worth, which blood has not." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Envy is such a part of many people’s personalities that it is not reasonable to expect them to completely eradicate this trait. Rather, they should channel it in a positive direction. Let them envy those with wisdom so they will try to gain more wisdom." - Yehuda Leib Chasman

"As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a man." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"Envy is a week that grows in all soils and climates, and is no less luxuriant in the country than in the court; is not confined to any rank of men or extent of fortune, but rages in the breasts of all degrees." - Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, aka Lord Clarendon

"Nothing can allay the rage of biting envy." -

"Envy is an ill-natured vice, and is made up of meanness and malice. It wishes the force of goodness to be strained, and the measure of happiness abated. It laments over prosperity, and sickens at the sight of health. It oftentimes wants spirit as well as good nature." - Jeremy Collier

"Envy lies between two beings equal in nature, though unequal in circumstances." - Jeremy Collier

"Envy comes from focusing on the few moments of good fortune in the life of another person, while ignoring his years of misfortune." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"By the very fact that I respect you without envy I prove my dignity as a man." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"Envy causes harmful physiological reactions. An envious person always feels sad and miserable." - Eliyahu de Vidas,

"Surely, if we considered detraction to be bred of envy, nested only in deficient minds, we should find that the applauding of virtue would win us far more honor than the seeking slyly to disparage it. That would show we loved what we commended, while this tells the world we grudge at what we want in ourselves." - Owen Feltham

"Worth begets in base minds, envy; in great souls, emulation." - Henry Fielding

"There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as "moral indignation," which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue." -

"Desire is the major cause of every transgression. When a person does something improper, it is because he has a specific desire that was aroused by some trait such as envy, lust, or honor-seeking." - Avraham Grodzinski

"Envy, appetite and ambition lead to ruin." - Eleazar ha-Kappar, alternate spelling Eliezer ha-Kappar

"Malice may be sometimes out of breath, envy never." - Charles Montagu Halifax, 1st Earl of Halifax, Lord Halifax

"There be three usual causes of ingratitude upon a benefit received - envy, pride, and covetousness; envy, looking more at other's benefits than our own; pride, looking more at ourselves than at the benefit; covetousness, looking more at what we would have than at what we have." - Joseph Hall, fully Bishop Joseph Hall

"Worldly ambition is founded on pride or envy, but emulation, or laudable ambition, is actually founded in humility; for it evidently implies that we have a low opinion of our present attainments, and think it necessary to be advanced." - Robert Hall

"There is but one man who can believe himself free from envy; and it is he who has never examined his own heart." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"Envy is not to be conquered but by death." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Patience is the guardian of faith, the preserver of peace, the cherisher of love, the teacher of humility; patience, governs the flesh, strengthens the spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, subdues the hand, tramples upon temptation, endures persecutions, consummates martyrdom; patience produces unity in the church, loyalty in the state, harmony in families and societies; she comforts the poor and moderates the rich; she makes us humble in prosperity, cheerful in adversity, unmoved by calumny and reproach; she teaches us to forgive those who have injured us, and to be the first in asking forgiveness of those whom we have injured; she delights the faithful, and invites the unbelieving; she adorns the woman, and approves the man; is loved in a child, praised in a young man, admired in an old man; she is beautiful in either sex and every age." - George Horne

"Patience strengthens the spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, subdues pride, bridles the tongue, restrains the hand, and tramples upon temptations." - George Horne

"Envy has a thousand eyes, but none with correct vision." - Issachar Baer Hurwitz

"A large amount of physical pain and suffering is caused by one’s thoughts and behaviors. The desire for food causes people to overeat and consume food that is harmful to their health. Envy, anger, and honor-seeking lead to diseases of the heart, high blood pressure, nervous tension and excessive stress. Moreover, even when you pain is basically caused by physical symptoms, your mental attitude towards the pain can greatly increase or decrease the actual amount of suffering you experience. The pain you suffer from illnesses and injuries is frequently more psychological than physical. A person who learns to master a calm and serene attitude towards life trains himself to tolerate physical pain and the actual suffering is greatly lessened." - Pinchos Hurwitz

"Feelings of envy are based on illusions. What actual loss do you have if someone else has more money and receives more honor than you?" - Yosef Y. Hurwitz

"All envy is proportionate to desire; we are uneasy at the attainments of another, according as we think our own happiness would be advanced by the addition of that which withholds from us." -

"Wealth is nothing in itself, it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase, which, if we suppose it put to its best use by those that posses it, seems not much to deserve the desire or envy of a wise man. It is certain that, with regard to corporal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages to anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed, that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment, enlarge the capacity, or elevate the imagination; but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error, and harden stupidity." -

"People become so used to being unhappy they are unaware of the needless misery they cause themselves. They imprison themselves by filling their minds with thoughts of resentment, hatred, envy, and desires. It is amazing how they tolerate living such a life. The only reason they do tolerate it is because they have become so used to living with such thoughts they fell it is the normal picture of life. They mistakenly think it is impossible for life to be any different." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"Envy is blind, and has no other quality but that of detracting from virtue." -

"Envy is blind, and she has no other quality than that of detracting from virtue." -

"Envy and anger, not being caused by pain and pleasure simply in themselves, but having in them some mixed considerations of ourselves and others, are not therefore to be found in all men, because those other parts, of valuing their merits, or intending revenge, is wanting in them. but all the rest [of the passions], terminating purely in pain and pleasure, are, I think, to be found in all men. For we love, desire, rejoice, and hope, only in respect of pleasure; we hate, fear, and grieve, only in respect of pain ultimately. In fine, all these passions are moved by things, only as they appear to be the causes of pleasure and pain, or to have pleasure or pain some way or other annexed to them." - John Locke

"Envy comes from foolishness and a lack of understanding. When you are envious of someone, you do not gain anything and o not cause a loss to the person you envy. The only person who loses out is you. There are some people whose foolishness is so strong that whenever they see someone else they know have some good fortune, they feel pain and suffering They are so pained by what others have they derive no pleasure from what they themselves possess." - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"The envious will die, but envy never." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"Other passions have objects to flatter the, and seem to content and satisfy them for a while; there is power in ambition, pleasure in luxury, and pelf in covetousness; but envy can gain nothing but vexation." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Envy, like flame, blackens that which is above it, and which it cannot reach." - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn

"Five great enemies of peace inhabit with us - avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace." - Petrarch, anglicized from Italian name Francesco Petrarca NULL

"Envy always implies conscious inferiority wherever it resides." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"We ought to be guarded against every appearance of envy, as a passion that always implies inferiority wherever it resides." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL