The other day, on our way to somewhere else, my mom and I took a detour into one of the oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods in Austin, called Pemberton Heights. It’s pretty much my dream neighborhood, and driving through it lights a fire in my SOUL.
Yes, I said that. It lights a fire in my soul.
I bet living in an old home comes with its own set of challenges, but I think I’d take them in a heartbeat for the opportunity to live in a house like some of the ones we saw on our drive (like the one above). They just don’t make things like they used to, do they? Character is sacrificed for practicality and whichever materials are cheapest for the builders. It’s a shame.
As we were driving through, oohing and aahing and admiring these people’s homes, I thought to myself about the difference between envy and admiration.
Envy is seeing something that someone else has and allowing yourself to feel “less than” in some way. Comparing yourself to them, and feeling as though you don’t measure up. There’s a negative connotation behind envy, and being envious is pretty much an ugly thing.
Admiration is seeing what someone has, whether it be a material thing or otherwise, and simply appreciating and respecting it—understanding that it probably took a great deal of hard work to achieve.
Admiration is a good thing. It inspires us to work hard for the things we want—to follow our dreams, to change things about our lives that aren’t working or aren’t pointing us in the direction we’d like to go. Admiration is a much nicer feeling than envy. It’s a positive energy to feed off, rather than a negative one.
For those of us who read a lot of blogs or otherwise spend a lot of time on the Internet (Pinterest?), it’s easy to get caught up in wanting things we don’t have. I’ll be the first to admit that I exist in a fairly consistent state of disgruntlement over things I wish I had—some of them material things, some of them not. But I think we need to be so careful about crossing the line between envy and admiration.
I dare say that the type of people who allow themselves to be eaten up by envy are never the type who achieve those deepest desires of their heart. Being jealous and envious wastes far too much precious energy that would be better utilized elsewhere.
I think it’s perfectly OK to admire others and what they’ve achieved in life. But 9 times out of 10, I bet those folks achieved what they did out of a sense of empowerment and good old-fashioned hard work—NOT envy.
Just some thoughts for your Sunday. I needed to write them, and I hope that maybe some of you needed to read them.