By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you've achieved - and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses - you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments. - Jack Canfield
Appreciation is the art of recognising or understanding that something is valuable and important. The hidden agenda of its handiwork is to illicit an ongoing response of gratitude and thankfulness in our lives. By maintaining this posture on an ongoing basis we can potentially reconstitute our attitude and recalibrate our personhood. When we focus on the finer details of life rather than finer things of life it moves us towards a healthy level of contentment that supports a balanced framework of human flourishing.
If we all devoted more time and energy to finding the merit and benefit in what we have, rather than what we don’t have we would be less distracted by the emotionally draining dissatisfaction that easily creeps into our entitled and self-indulgent attitude. My western world addiction to a materialistic consumerism can so easily overwhelm my sensibilities, preoccupying my thoughts with a need for more rather than choosing to accept my current status as a true reflection of reality.
When get caught up in the collective gluttony of overconsumption it feeds our stinginess and selfishness robbing us of the rich fruitfulness that generosity has to offer. Appreciation has a more open hearted and inclusive world view where sharing becomes the standard for a healthy society. When you really appreciate what you have been given to steward it becomes mutually pleasurable for all concerned.
Appreciation is the byproduct of a rich contentment and a radical generosity that come together to conjure up a new modality of human practice. To Survive in the dog-eat-dog world of the human ego we will need to navigate through our natural pre-dispositional lean toward self-centredness and self preservation, learning to trust that the universe has our back. Our FOMO (fear of missing out) can also distort our view of reality if we keep comparing our situation with others. Comparison depreciates the value of appreciation.
When I was growing up I was taught to say those magic words of 'please and thank-you', the universal protocols for comportment that promote a deeper appreciation for the contribution that others make to your life. Due to the fact that gratefulness takes a while to bed into the human psyche I am still learning to listen and lean into the prompts and cues that reciprocity invites me into.
The formation of a relational etiquette nourishes a healthy emotional IQ, a crucial component in the maturation of our appreciation skills. Peter Salovey an American social psychologist suggests that emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one's own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.
Empathy, which is typically associated with EI, because it relates to an individual connecting their personal experiences with those of others becomes the driving force behind how we guide our energies towards the mutual practice of appreciation. As I give and receive empathy it builds rapport, increases sensitivity and stimulates sympathy toward one another, the underlying virtues of how appreciation shapes a healthy society.
What you've given me I could never return
'Cause there's so much girl I've yet to learn
And I want to show my appreciation, cause when I found you
I found a new inspiration
Oh, oh! heaven must have sent you from above
Oh, heaven must have sent your precious love.
- Marvin Gaye; Your Precious Love