Seven Deadly Sins Series: ENVY

You know that blogger: she’s got a pro photog for a boyfriend, so he just loves taking amazing photos of her, natch. She’s skinny and beautiful and maybe even rich, and the world’s most prestigious brands are flooding her mailbox with show and party invitations.

You are so envious of her. She has everything.

You hate her. And you want to be her.


Envy is perhaps the most insidious of the seven deadly sins, because it is a bit of a combination of greed, wrath, and lust. You want, want, want, then get angry or feel despondent when you don’t have all those things you want that someone else has. Envy clouds your brain and creates a visage of perfection that simply does not exist.

Don’t be seduced by someone else’s life.

I learned a valuable lesson about envy some years ago. I knew someone who seemed to have the perfect life: handsome husband, fancy vacations, luxury car, the whole nine. I was on the outside looking in, thinking how some people just have all the luck, and why didn’t I? That was, until I found out that her husband had a mistress. And then POOF!—just like that, it was all gone—she had to rebuild her life after he left her for the other woman.

I learned then to be grateful for what I have, not envious of what I don’t. Because often, things are not as rosy as they appear.


While envy is generally a negative emotion, it can also be a catalyst for personal momentum and growth. Don’t just sit there seething about your lot in life, take action to change it!

Turn envy into positive action:

  • Commit to improving your blog content.
    Transform photos by taking a class, or swapping goods or services with an amateur photographer looking to build his or her portfolio. Take an online writing or SEO course. Learn photo editing, or fake it with PicMonkey. Comb Problogger articles for tips and tricks. There are also lots of blog improvement goodies on my Build a Better Blog page. Want to have a kick-ass blog? Start kicking some ass, then!
  • Be the best version of you that you can be.
    Are you eating clean, exercising, making time to take care of yourself? Never underestimate the power your self-esteem has over every aspect of your life. If you don’t feel good about YOU, it affects everything from relationships, to work, to yes…your blog. Trust me, I know. Kickstart the new you with a Whole30. A year ago this month, I did my first Whole30, and it was an incredible experience! So much so that I’m doing an inaugural #Whole30 right this minute.
  • Learn from the person you envy.
    We all have challenges and insecurities…even that blogger who seems to have everything. Read interviews about them, or send a request to interview them yourself. Find out: What were their obstacles? How did they overcome them? What advice do they have? Learn from their lessons, follow their advice.
  • Realize many “famous” bloggers already had an inside track to the top.
    Many either already knew someone in the business, interned or work in the industry themselves, or are ideally-located, geographically (New York, California, or Paris). It’s important that your brain recognizes that some opportunities aren’t truly available to anyone other than that one person. In this post on Everyday Stoic, the author made a great point:

    “…it would be foolish to envy someone for gaining something you were never capable of receiving, just as it would be foolish to wish that you had been born at a different time and place.”

    So stop thinking that you’re not smart/rich/skinny/cool/beautiful/creative enough. You are. But you are who you are, and they are who they are, and the sooner we all accept that, the more peace we have.

  • Focus on someone else.
    Think you have it bad? There are people who have serious challenges (not first-world problems like blogging), who could use some help. Get outside of your head and volunteer at a charitable organization—it will make you think twice about what you aren’t or don’t have. When you help others, it feels good for you and them, and you completely forget about focusing on you in the process.

NEXT: Seven Deadly Sins Series: GLUTTONY



  1. Ohh, the partner who enjoys taking pictures of a style blogger — that’s been a hard envy for me to overcome. But at least I’ve learned I’m not alone — have encountered many anecdotes among my blog-reading circles from gals whose guys just don’t have the eye, or (more likely) who are impatient or downright crabby about it all. I’ve gotten pretty good with my tripod and timer, and my 6 year old daughter likes to take up the DSLR now and then for mom’s “style shoots” (after I put the strap securely around her!)

    Indeed, in general no one’s life is as rosy as it seems. The grass is always greener, walk a mile in my shoes, &c &c. You might not see the dark side on Facebook or lifestyle blogs or Twitter. It can take a one-on-one conversation and a cocktail or two!

    1. The funny thing is, I do have a partner who takes great photos. You know what I’m envious of? The people who can adjust their cameras to get that bokeh effect (where the person is in focus but the background isn’t). It’s always something, isn’t it? 🙂

      1. Yep – consistently good bokeh would be nice, too! I know how they do it, and I can get it to a certain degree when I widen the aperture (crank down the f/stop number) and am very careful about setting my tripod-poised camera to focus on me with every shot. Not easy!

        But a basic DLSR will only go so far; you need special lenses for the lower f-stops and more dramatic bokeh — especially when you’re looking at a person-sized subject. *And* — unless you’re neurotic and a bit lucky in your self-camera focusing work — you need a partner who’ll pay good attention to focusing on *you*.

      2. Hi Heidi, thanks for your comment. I have a secret weapon for you…the bokeh/blur you wrote about is easily achieved with the uber-popular DSLR lens amongst bloggers: the 50mm f1.4. I have a one, and it does all the work for you, on auto.

        BUT, be warned. It’s nearly impossible to take those beautiful full-body shots using a tripod and remote with this lens. The 50mm f1.4 really needs a person behind the lens to focus on the subject in order to achieve that beautiful juxtaposition of clarity and blur. I thought it was going to revolutionize my photos. But since I usually use a tripod and am self-shot, that has not been the case. Boo.

        1. Hi Vahni,

          I just wanted to say that there are a couple of work arounds for that focusing issue! In your case, it helps to stand the distance that you’ll be away from the camera, WITH the camera on your person. Focus on the tripod. Make sure to mark where you’re standing and place the camera back on to the tripod. I find shooting at f2.2 most ideal, actually, since you often end up with weird parts of your body starting to fade into the bokeh if you’re closer to the f1.4 end of the spectrum. (It’s a general rule that the eyes and nose should always be in focus! Rules are of course meant to be broken, but within reason, obviously.)

          That being said, the 50mm f1.8 is probably more ideal for this situation. It gets to my lovely f2.2, and it also focuses automatically. So you’re all set with just your remote! Also, it’s 1/3rd of the price.

          If course it’s be my dream to own a f1.2 lens, but at a whopping $1,000, I know I’m not that serious of a photographer, and can make magic with my $100 baby 🙂 The f1.8 is considered Canon’s best lens for the buck.

          Anyway, I absolutely love this post. In the past I’ve had serious blogger envy, but that subsided when I realized my blogging situation is what it is. However, things have been picking up for me lately and I still can’t believe it. It actually IS sometimes about being in a less than ideal geographic location. I’m from Miami where we have a bunch of style bloggers. They know who I am, and I know who they are, but I’m very obviously not quite on their level. I go to school in Rhode Island, and within the past four months, I’ve been selected for two big campaigns because I’m basically the only blogger from there! Haha. Of course my Miami affiliation possibly boosts my blog up, but my part-time Rhode Island residence was enough to qualify me for some new things 🙂

          Can’t wait to see the rest of the series!

    2. Oh, I feel you, Sarah! My hubby is NOT a fan of taking photos of me. The only time I can get him to do it if it’s because I have a sponsor obligation. As I wrote to Heidi below, I have this fancy schmancy camera and lens, and almost never use it because trying to use the 50mm on a tripod for selfies is almost impossible. I may have to go back to my boring old lens unless I can get someone to shoot me when they’re around!

  2. What a wonderful post, you nailed it right! When I look at some famous fashion bloggers, the only thing I could possibly envy is their closet. I would think, if I have her closet, I could easily build my fashion blog and my following a lot better. But then I would pause, do i really want to spend that much money on designer clothes, shoes and bags? While I love fashion and my fashion blog is currently my bread and butter, I know in myself that I wouldn´t feel happy and satisfied with utter consumerism and materialism. There will never be contentment. This realization hit me when I saw my closet expand (although most of its contents are high-street and only a small portion are designers) and I felt guilty for all the money spent on pieces that I wore only once or aren´t yet worn at all.

    Instead of trying to follow on the footsteps of personal style bloggers, I went to work on my strengths which are writing and fashion analyzing. Now I can say that I´ve made a successful fashion blog that I am truly proud of. When I visit other blogs and I notice myself thinking – I like that bag too, I should have that dress too, I must get her shoes too – then I remind myself of my goals and what´s more important to me.

    Just as what you´ve said, work hard to improve your blog, use the success of others to inspire you, focus on your strengths and capitalize on them because you are unique.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Sounds like you are on the right track. As you have realized, even when your closet is bursting with things, you can still be unhappy and want more. They key is to remind ourselves of that.

  3. Yes, I agree. Envy is probably one of the worst “sins” because it makes people behave in an unkind fashion. Never long for someone else’s life. Be grateful for all the gifts in yours, and as mentioned above, you never really know what someone else’s life is really like.

    1. Hi Morgan…thanks for your comment! Jumping over to read your post now. Glad this post resonated with you.

    2. Morgan, I wanted to comment on your blog, but I can’t because of your GOOGLE plugin! That is probably the issue with the sparse comments on your blog! Pull that thing off of there, lady. No one wants to be forced to create a Google+ page to comment. I hate Google+, and a lot of people don’t use it. It doesn’t give you an option to comment otherwise.

      I suggest using Disqus as a plugin for comments if you don’t like Blogger’s built-in system. Let me know if you get an increase in comments after that. And don’t let this stuff get you down! I’ve been blogging since 2006, and the last two whole years have been kind of bad for me in terms of inspiration. But it does come back. I also suggest you only post when you have something to say, not every day just for the sake of traffic. That is the fastest way to burn out. Three times a week is a good number.

      Good luck, dear!

      1. Thank you so much for this advice! I actually only turned on those comments a week or so ago because I saw the option and actually wasn’t sure if it was easier than the standard Blogger comment box or not. I have now changed it back! I will look into Disqus. I have seen that on other blogs, but sometimes I feel like it eats my comments when I try to leave one on a post of someone else’s???? I very much appreciate you taking the time to stop by my blog and read my post. I’m a big fan of your blog! xoxo

  4. First, I just want to say what a genius series this has been! Timely reminders, all.

    For me, envy is tied to pride. I am proud of what I’ve created with my blog, so when I see others I perceive as being more successful (more visitors, more comments, more _____), I feel that twinge of jealousy. Why her? Why not me?

    That’s when I have to stop and remember that success isn’t finite–someone else’s success doesn’t prevent me from having it, too. And what I don’t see is all the hard work that person has put in to getting where she is. Far better to take that envy energy and channel it into working on my own success. After all, I’m the only one who has any control over it.

  5. Hi V.

    I have been visiting your blog for the past 6 months and finally decided to write a comment. Sometimes a girl doesn’t know what to say. But this series, especially this post, really struck a chord. Outside of launching a new blog (no choice btw) I have been delving into Fashion Styling and that’s why the ‘envy’ post really hit home.

    I had friends who knew they wanted to be stylists back when I just knew pre-med was for me lol. Now that some fruits of my labor are starting to pay off unfortunately, one hand encompasses my number of friends (with fingers left over). Even a 20 year friendship. Being on the receiving end of someone’s unkindness can somehow manage to cut much deeper than any physical blow. I’ve come to realize that even at a crossroad of friendship uncertainty you have to move forward, even if it entails leaving some loved ones behind. Thank you for this series! I’m onto reading some others!

    1. Hi Nikki! I’m thrilled that you decided to comment…thanks for following along all these months. Glad that this post resonated with you.

      I so know how it feels to have “friends” turn their backs on you, especially for no good reason. You know, there are just a LOT of jealous, insecure people out there whose envy really gets the better of them. I, too, can count my friends on one hand with fingers left over! I take comfort in this, however: most people realize when their intentions were not honorable or kind and they do come back, groveling. It has happened to me a few times. But usually, by that time I’ve had enough and know better than to let someone back into my life when I know how they really are deep inside.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know how you feel, and it sucks, but you do get past it. As long as you know you do things with good, pure intention, that goodness always comes back to you. So you just keep on keepin’ on!

      PS: Thanks for including me on your Hit List! Super flattered. Your blog looks great. Clean and easy to navigate. Good job!

  6. you cannot change the cards you are dealt, but you can do the best with what you’re dealt! in this age of social media it is so easy to be envious of others possessions, achievements etc. and to get down right bitter about it. i can only speak for myself as a blogger, but it has ALWAYS been important to me to create a balanced view for my readers. i started this blog because i was downright tired of blogs portraying a “perfect life” which i found affected how i perceived mine. so, i always keep a little self-deprecation in my style and make sure that i disclose some of the challenging times, too.

    it’s so easy to show off what brands have gifted you, what you’ve purchased etc. but i always consider what it’s teaching my readers. am i really trying to inspire, or just showing off? i make a conscious decision to not take the easy route! i feel that it’s my responsibility to enrich peoples lives, not go on an ego trip about my own.

    i’ve actually also noticed that a lot of bloggers look like they are working with brands, when it’s totally not the case. the brand may have gifted an item, and the blogger is plugging the item in a major way, essentially for free, just to please the brand. that’s a whole other topic in itself, isn’t it?!

    great post as per usual, v! x

    1. You’re so right, Erin. As bloggers, it’s tempting to only share the moments of our lives that are fantastic. No one wants the not-so-great photo or moment out there. And if blogs were nothing but those average, less-than-great moments, no one would want to read them.

      But I think revealing the spectrum of life’s highs and lows on your blog reminds readers that you are a REAL PERSON too! And real people do not live in a balloon of perfection!

      Thanks for your comment, lovely!

  7. I read another blog post about fashion bloggers and where they get the clothes from. There were a few ways,

    1 – they have the budget to buy it all themselves

    2 – they borrow the outfit from friends or stores and then give it back

    3 – some bloggers like Tavi and Jane Aldridge raid their mother’s closets

    4 – some raid op shops

    5 – some are very lucky to be given the clothes

    6 – they could possibly be buying them from those sales racks where the store/designer is getting rid of the stuff at rock bottom prices

    Some of the things they “seem” to have must be massively expensive, and I’m sure others are insanely cheap, either way I don’t envy them. I see fashion posts as such a waste of time and even though they may have links to where you can buy it doesn’t mean I’m going to like it enough to do so.

    And I feel sorry for the partners taking the photos. “No, don’t take a picture of me from that angle, I said THAT angle”, “Don’t use that lens, use that one”, “Hurry up and take the damn photo these shoes are killing me”.

    I feel so sorry for the partners.

    1. Some bloggers are kinder to their photog partners than others. There is one fairly well-known blogger that another blogger friend of mine witnessed treating her hubby terribly. Super b*tchy and bossy. I saw the same diva attitude manifest on a shoot I was at once too. Some women are just like that. Makes me wonder why their guys don’t chuck the camera back at them and say I quit!

  8. I’m pretty good about blogger envy these days, but when I first started I was so jealous of the bloggers who had lots of comments and followers! I thought I’d never get there. Like you said in this post the best thing with jealousy is it can motivate you to be better. Im Wildly jealous of Garance dore’s illustrations, but it pushes me to improve!