My struggle with envy

What it reveals AND invites

Ronna Detrick
5 min readJan 18


Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

A few weeks back, in the midst of my morning writing/journaling, I reflected on a snippet of my behavior. Something about it caught me, like a snag in a sweater. So I typed lots (and lots) of words and sentences and paragraphs to try and identify what I was feeling.

I’m not proud of it, but “jealousy” is what I had to admit. Later, upon referring to Brené Brown’s lexicon in Atlas of the Heart, I realized it was actually “envy.” She says this:

Jealousy is when we fear losing a relationship or a valued part of a relationship that we already have.

Envy occurs when we want something that another person has.

Definitely envy.

We live in a world that thrives on envy.

Capitalism and commercialism do everything in their power to create and sustain this emotional state. These systems flourish because they have us endlessly wanting something that another person has.

It’s reinforced through endless messages (inside and out) that cajole us to believe we will only be whole, complete, happy, and fulfilled when and if we are successful, wealthy, loved, admired, thin, and/or ______________ (fill in the blank).

If this weren’t enough, the slightest scroll through Instagram floods us with images of those who DO have all this, who at least appear to have what we have been persuaded and convinced to want, desire, (and purchase) at almost any cost.

It requires a tremendous amount of self-awareness and discipline to NOT feel envy! Brené Brown names that psychologically (and culturally) it is almost impossible for us to avoid it. But then she says this:

Even if we do not choose whether or not to make a comparison, we can choose whether or not to let that comparison affect our mood or self-perceptions.


This is what I’ve been thinking about since tripping over my own comparison and envy. It has definitely affected my mood and self-perceptions. I need and want to make a different choice. And I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, you can relate.

We nearly buckle under unrelenting pressure to have perfect clothes, homes, jobs, bodies



Ronna Detrick

I work and write on behalf of women and their re-visioned stories. These days you can find me on Substack.