Envy Quotes to Release Resentment

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. See our disclosure for more info.

Are you envious of others? These envy quotes show the drawbacks of feeling envious and how to put this feeling behind you.

Envy is the mix of emotions we feel when we’re aware others have things we don’t or can’t have ourselves. It gives way to resentment, bitterness, covetousness, and spitefulness.

These emotions harm the person who feels them, but also degrades relationships between friends, family members, and even different parts of society.

Everyone feels envy from time to time, but some deal with it better than others. We collected the best envy quotes to help you recognize when you feel envious and reach for a better emotion to feel instead.

Top 10 Envy Quotes

Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Envy is pain at the good fortune of others.

Napoleon quote "Envy is a declaration of inferiority"
“Envy is a declaration of inferiority.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Whoever envies another confesses his superiority.

Samuel Johnson

It is not greed that drives the world, but envy.

Warren Buffett

Envy is for people who don’t have the self-esteem to be jealous.


Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope.

Josh Billings
Alexander Solzhenitsyn quote "Our envy of others devours us most of all"
“Our envy of others devours us most of all.” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Nothing sharpens sight like envy.

Thomas Fuller

Envy is like a fly that passes all the body’s sounder parts, and dwells upon the sores.

Arthur Chapman

Quotes about Envy

Envy’s a coal comes hissing hot from Hell.

Philip James Bailey

Envy is more irreconcilable than hatred.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy.

Oliver Stone

You mostly envy those who have what you desire.

Susan Cain
Monica Bellucci quote "Envy is human nature"
“Envy is human nature.” – Monica Bellucci

Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, ‘social justice.’

Thomas Sowell

Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy.

Francis Bacon

The price of success is to bear the criticism of envy.

Denis Waitley

Take heed you harbor not that vice called Envy, lest another’s happiness be your torment, and God’s blessing become your curse.

Wellins Calcott

It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.


Envy blinds men and makes it impossible for them to think clearly.

Malcolm X

Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise. For envy is a kind of praise.

John Gay

Envy is never general, but always very particular – at least envy of the kind one feels strongly.

Joseph Epstein

Envy among other ingredients has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune.

William Hazlitt

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.

Harold Coffin
David Nicholls quote "Envy was just the tax you paid on success"
“Envy was just the tax you paid on success.” – David Nicholls

The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.

Victor Hugo

It is better to be envied than pitied.


Envy is a sign of insecurity, yes; but so is longing to be envied.

Criss Jami

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 14:30, NIV

Oh, what a bitter thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.

William Shakespeare

Our culture is based on envy.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Envy aims very high.


Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbor to have them through envy.


Envy motivates a lot of people.

Shia LaBeouf

Envy suggests inferiority.

Wayne Gerard Trotman
Annna Godbersen quote "Heart-stopping envy is the sincerest form of flattery"
“Heart-stopping envy is the sincerest form of flattery.” – Anna Godbersen

A sign of wealth: no envy, no fear.

Greg Isenberg

The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.

Jim Rohn

Man will do many things to get himself loved; he will do all things to get himself envied.

Mark Twain

Envy is the central fact of American life.

Gore Vidal

Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.

Jean Vanier

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.

Gretchen Rubin

Pride, envy, avarice – these are the sparks have set on fire the hearts of all men.

Dante Alighieri

Envy and jealousy are the private parts of the human soul. Perhaps the comparison can be extended.

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘Mediocrity’ doesn’t mean average intelligence, it means an average intelligence that resents and envies its betters.

Ayn Rand

Men, though they know full well how much women are worth and how great the benefits we bring them, nonetheless seek to destroy us out of envy for our merits.

Moderata Fonte
Livy quote "Envy like fire always makes for the highest points"
“Envy like fire always makes for the highest points.” – Livy

We experience envy when the quality we feel inferior about threatens our self-concept.

Shane Parrish

Capitalism is the system that has enabled greatness and made America the envy of the world.

Trish Regan

Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point, and if it does not occupy the whole space, feels itself excluded.

William Hazlitt

Glamour cannot exist without personal social envy being a common and widespread emotion.

John Berger

Being Envious Quotes

Being envious is never a flattering quality, even though it’s a tempting one. Even if it seems unfair or unjust that someone else has something you don’t, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Envy can even make us less happy for what we do have, and less likely to enjoy it.

A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.

Lionel Shriver

The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause.

Baltasar Gracian

We are always trying to become something else. We are always trying to become noble, to become a hero, an example, an ideal; and if we really go behind this urge to become, we will find that there is envy and that behind that envy there is fear, the fear of what one is.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

The envious person grows lean with the fatness of their neighbor.


There is a natural limit to the success we wish our friends, even when we have spurred them on their way.

Agnes Repplier
"Never outshine the master"
“Never outshine the master.” – Robert Greene

When you criticize someone, see if you are doing it out of envy. Your criticism reveals more about yourself than you realize.

Haemin Sunim

Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.

William Arthur Ward

The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause.

Baltasar Gracián

As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.


Don’t be envious. Be inspired.


Take heed you harbor not that vice called Envy, lest another’s happiness be your torment, and God’s blessing become your curse.

Wellins Calcott

Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of an excuse: envy alone wants both.

Robert Burton

Pity is for the living, envy is for the dead.

Mark Twain

The company of certain people may excite our generosity and sensitivity, while that of others awakens our competitiveness and envy.

Alain de Botton

Envy lurks at the bottom of the human heart like a viper in its hole.

Honoré de Balzac

Only fools live in the past or carry envy to the present.

Chi Chi Rodriguez

Moral indignation in most cases is, 2% moral, 48% indignation, and 50% envy.

Vittorio De Sica

For most of us, envy is the basis of our actions; remove envy and we feel we are lost. All our effort is towards success, and in that there is envy; behind that envy there is fear.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Pride, which inspires us with so much envy, is sometimes of use toward the moderating of it too.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld
"He who goes unenvied shall not be admired"
“He who goes unenvied shall not be admired.” – Aeschylus

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.

Erich Fromm

Worth begets in base minds, envy; in great souls, emulation.

Henry Fielding

There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for the envious with erasers.

Evan Esar

I envy my daughter’s childhood.

Rene Russo

I cannot think of any character below the flatterer, except he who envies him.

Richard Steele

The player envies only the player, the poet envies only the poet.

William Hazlitt

The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions.

Adam Smith

Drawbacks of Envy

These envy quotes highlight the many drawbacks of envious thought. The biggest pitfall of envy is that it takes our focus off what we really want and prevents us from thinking better thoughts.

As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.


Carrying envy makes life more difficult.

Kym Whitley

Class envy is dangerous.

Jack Abramoff

Five enemies of peace inhabit with us – avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko quote "Envy is an insult to oneself"
“Envy is an insult to oneself.” – Yevgeny Yevtushenko

If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you can bet the water bill is higher.

Debbie Macomber

Now think of the things which goad man into destroying man: they are hope, envy, hatred, fear and contempt.

Marcus Aurelius

Envy has the ugliness of a trapped rat that has gnawed its own foot in its effort to escape.

Angus Wilson

Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.

Joseph Epstein

Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poor man is ruined as soon as he begins to ape the rich.

Publius Syrus

Envy is the coward side of Hate, and all her ways are bleak and desolate.

Henry Abbey

Envy is thin because it bites but never eats.

Spanish Proverb

Envy creates silent enemies.

Robert Greene

I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy – I don’t disparage envy, but I don’t accept it as legitimately my master.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

It is never wise to seek or wish for another’s misfortune. If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang.

Charley Reese
"Envy shoots at others and wounds itself"
“Envy shoots at others and wounds itself.” – English Proverb

Envy assails the noblest: the winds howl around the highest peaks.


Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.

Teddy Roosevelt

The gifts given to us by God must not be relinquished to those who speak ill of them and who are moved by envy or ignorance.

Filippo Brunelleschi

Frontrunners always attract envy, and a desperate campaign to stop them in their tracks.

Kwasi Kwarteng

Envy, like the worm, never runs but to the fairest fruit; like a cunning bloodhound, it singles out the fattest deer in the flock.

Francis Beaumont

The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build.

Margaret Thatcher

When men are full of envy they disparage everything, whether it be good or bad.


Communism possesses a language which every people can understand – its elements are hunger, envy, and death.

Heinrich Heine

Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Releasing Envy Quotes

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.

Cesare Pavese

Envy and greed starve on a steady diet of thanksgiving.

Billy Graham

Let age, not envy, draw wrinkles on thy cheeks.

Thomas Browne
Ambrose Pierce quote "Congratulations is the civility of envy"
“Congratulations is the civility of envy.” – Ambrose Pierce

The truest mark of being born with great qualities, is being born without envy.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Let others either envy or pity me; I care not, so long as I enjoy myself.

Joseph Hall

I avoid envy at all costs.

Claudia Winkleman

Whoever cultivates the golden mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.


Find people not to envy but to admire. Do not the profitable but the admirable deed. Live by ideals.

Jonathan Sacks

Loyalty will not permit envy, hate, and uncharitableness to creep into our public thinking.

Bainbridge Colby

Above all, you must fight conceit, envy, and every kind of ill-feeling in your heart.

Abraham Cahan

It is good to vary in order that you may frustrate the curious, especially those who envy you.

Baltasar Gracian

I do not envy any animal, though I envy many of their capacities.

Louis MacNeice

I never envy the guys who get attention for partying too much or behaving badly.

Thomas Gibson

It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more approachable.

Robert Greene
"To live without comparison is to remove a tremendous burden"
“To live without comparison is to remove a tremendous burden.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

We are and always will be the party of prosperity, not envy.

Andrew Scheer

The truth is that we should live with less envy and more cordiality and empathy.

Leonardo Bonucci

I don’t envy or much respect people who are completely politicised.

Christopher Hitchens

This only grant me, that my means may lie, too low for envy, for contempt to high.

Abraham Cowley

Don’t envy the harvest of the rich. Envy their planting.

Bo Sanchez

Sometimes we owe a friend to the lucky circumstance that we give him no cause for envy.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Maybe jealousy and envy would fade if we knew the full story behind success. Maybe we would be less likely to put people on a pedestal.

James Clear

When you show yourself to the world and display your talents, you naturally stir all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity… you cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others.

Robert Greene

We hope these envy quotes showed you how destructive envious thoughts are, and how to move past them.

Being envious takes away from our own good and leads to negativity in our own lives, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

When we resent others or covet what they have, our focus is on our own lack. So don’t resent others for their good fortune, and go out and create your own!

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's lead editor and content writer, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.