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Do we find it easier to admire and respect people in positions or places we could only ever aspire to, than we do those who are closer to being our equals?

This is a personal theory, by the way, so it’s not backed by research or deep psychological understanding. In fact, its rather shallow, developed through observation of myself and my feelings. Just so you know.

But see what you think. Who are your heroes? Who do you most admire? Are they people who are safely dead? Lofty icons of social standing? Prodigiously talented and in a class of their own? Or forced by circumstance to over-achieve?

Admiring someone for their achievements is admirable. Yet we are more likely to express it with those who are not too similar to ourselves. With those closest to us we are more likely to compare and contrast, and this sometimes produces envy, rather than applause and approval.

2 Responses to “Fifty Shades of Envy”

  1. Interesting post Barry. Is something wrong with me? Yes, I do respect those people, departed or present now, who have attained high goals. But I admire more the friends or acquaintances who work towards their personal goals. I don’t compare myself with them, or envy them, because I love my life the way it is. Some are wealthy, but they worked hard to get there. Hubby and I don’t have much money, but we love each other and are truly happy just the way we are. If I could live my life over sometimes I think I’d like to change the early years but the last 30 years have been very special. Maybe they are special because of my earlier bad years? Maybe the bad are what helped me to recognize the good though. I love and honour the achievements our friends have made…each of them are successful in their own way…and I believe that I am also successful, in my own way.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. With age comes wisdom. I can say that because previously you have told me your age, and also because you demonstrate it in your comment.

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