Admiration is the emotion of marvelling at the characteristics of others. It is reached through astonishment at a positive thing. When a person is astonished, the instinctual reaction is preparation for another emotion. The eyebrows are raised, as the eyes open, letting more light onto the pupils. The posture becomes more erect as the lungs take a deep breath, and the body is poised to move away from the object of astonishment in the eventuality that danger is present. 1
If the astonishing event turns out to be positive, the expression morphs into admiration or amazement. The eyebrows lower, the eyes softly reduce in size, while the open mouth closes and widens into a smile.
Both admiration and amazement have a core element of wonder: pondering how something has happened. The mind settles, in the admiring process, on the appreciation of another’s characteristics. Amazement is similar, but the appreciation would be placed on impersonal, external events. The duration of these instinctual reactions is linked to the intensity of the perceived event. Usually the first reaction of astonishment is measured in milliseconds and, less often, seconds. Nonetheless, the conviction placed in the wondrous event may last a lifetime and stay in memory for vivid visual recall for just as long. In an evolutionary sense, this suggests admiration has played an important role in human accumulation of personal information. Interest in developing and imitating skills observed in others is prolonged with admiration.
A broad smile with bright, positively charged eyes of wonder are the hallmarks of admiration and amazement. When people look at rolling plumes of thunderous clouds and see the ignition of forked lightning, it elicits an expression of amazement. In admiration the object of wonder is an impressive person rather than an impressive impersonal event. For example, when people meet someone who has achieved a confounding depth of knowledge in an activity they’re interested in, admiration is the result. Also, if people witness a brave person who intervenes into a situation to stop a stronger, cruel person causing another to cower in terror, a normal response is admiration. Rather than live in a world where abusive actions are tolerated, some people put themselves at risk and succeed, and they receive admirable expressions. They possess something that enables them to succeed in the face of danger.
A spellbound quality is created by astonishment. Wonder migrates from astonishment to admiration as one emotion morphs into the other. Astonishment is a reaction to an event that is impressive enough to elicit immediate curiosity. When a person’s character is first looked at through this neutral inquisitiveness, then deemed positive, simple wonder morphs into an appreciated marveling. The eyes are free to move softly in any direction and be placed on any delightful feature. Warm respect and positive wonder create the smiling face of admiration.
Admiration is mistaken for envy and vice versa, yet envy has a negative sense of wanting the possessions of another. Admiration, on the other hand, is expressed in relation to what people reckon to be positive characteristics. It relates to talents and aspiring appreciation. It has a positive moral overtone. Because envy is used in a negative light and has selfish and destructive overtones, it’s often considered the opposite of admiration. Envy desires possessions whereas admiration appreciates talents.
Aspirations and hopes are included in this outlook towards others. The significant tone of this emotion is to appreciate and marvel at people’s characteristics; we think they’re marvellous! Admired people have a quality that others think has value, therefore admiration can hint at an admirer’s potential directions in life. Admiration fits, like a jigsaw piece, into the subjectivity of whoever possesses it. It can be used to understand the structure of a person’s personality. The thoughts people have about the admirable traits of others can significantly change over time and are not set in stone. Yet, the process of astonishment which created the admiration places considerable conviction and respect in the admirable quality. Admirations are conviction encapsulated snapshots of wonder.
The characteristics that people admire will usually relate, somehow, to the overall positive outlook of a society and the memes* that are present in that society. Admirations create and follow paths of evolution as they motivate the development of skill-sets. One such meme is equal opportunities in the work force, and it’s relevant to any industrialising country. Admirations evolve from generation to generation in terms of liking the specific talents and abilities of others in the present.
Nevertheless, admiration, in reality, endlessly supports the amount of appreciation that people have for a person’s strength of conviction, or passion, when placed under adverse pressure. This seems to suggest that discernment that’s coupled with courage is inherently marvellous. People will always admire the courage of others, and courage is probably the most universally admired emotion.
Latin. Admirari = to wonder at.
1. Respect and warm approval.
2. An object of wonder, esteem; a marvel.