Friday, February 2, 2024

Envy vs. Comparison

In the days where social media has quickly become a significant part of our daily life, the risks of falling into the sin of Envy have become all the greater. I think in general it is harder to find information on sins that women fall into in particular, so I did some research to learn more about what the difference is between comparison and Envy. 

Comparison in and of itself, obviously is not a sin. However, it can lead to the sin of Envy. Envy is feeling sorrowful at the success of another and wishing they did not have this success, deciding they did not deserve it, or being angry at the unfairness of their own deprivation of the same success. Moral theologians agree that Envy is usually a mortal sin. 

Before you start worrying about getting to Confession, let me make three clarifications about what Envy is not:
1) Envy is not a temptation, you will be tempted, but you'll only sin if you embrace the sinful desire for another's ill-fate. 
2) Envy is not blaming yourself for bad choices after seeing someone else who made good choices. Being inspired by another is a good thing, wishing evil on them is not.
3)  Envy is not jealousy. The difference is that jealousy is wanting something someone else has and Envy wishes they were deprived of it.

Now please don't be scrupulous about this -- if you didn't know something was a mortal sin when you did it, it's not a mortal sin. 

With that out of the way, I think it's safe to say that committing the sin of envy is not exactly as easy as it sounds. It takes ill-will toward others to commit it. However, sin is always dangerous, and it is really important to avoid anything that puts you in danger of being envious.

That brings us to comparison. Healthy comparison is good only if we are inspired to do better. However, I vote for avoiding it altogether. I think if think of ourselves as on the same plane as other people it gets dangerous. We can judge the homeless, but really, they were put in really bad situations over and over and if we were in their shoes, we probably would have done the same thing. 

Same thing with that social media influencer. It looks like she makes the big bucks for doing nothing but really, she's put in hours and hours of hard work and trial and failure to get where she is now. And the delete button on posts means you often don't see most of the failures, but they still happened. Don't assume she was handed all this because she probably wasn't. You shouldn't feel angry at her because you didn't work as hard.

The best way to fight comparison to build confidence. If you trust that you are where God made you to be, and focus on making objectively good choices, it'll be easy to start ignoring the Joneses and live a wonderful life. Comparison and Envy will only lead us to a place where we all live the same lives and that's not what God planned for us. Our differences are beautiful and we're all in this together. Keep up the good work. 


Post a Comment