Appreciation is a simple and powerful way to make others happy. Yet many of us don’t do it often enough.
Life is a never ending cycle of days and nights, knit together by so many happenings. At times we are in control while at other times we are not.
As if that is not enough, add to it the fact that some days or moments we are happy but at other times we feel the opposite. Of course, we could have genuine reasons for these highs and lows but the fact is, many times our emotions are determined by others actions.
And the same is very true vice versa. We have the power to control other’s feelings yet we underestimate this power. But just take a moment to reflect. You have the remote control over another human being.
This power, like any other, is a two edged sword as it can be used for good as well as evil. Its usage depends on the person who wields it. For now let’s leave the evil uses of this power for another article and just focus on only one good use; i.e to lift up, encourage and acknowledge others.
We can achieve this good by simply appreciating others.
Appreciation is a simple yet highly underestimated way to put to good use the power we have over others feelings.
There is a distinction between gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness towards someone who has done good to you. Whereas, appreciation is recognizing how good someone or something is and to value him, her, or it:
Genuine appreciation is neither a return gift nor a reaction. It comes from within, from a generous heart, not because of a benefit we received from someone. Commonly, generosity is associated with money, but in reality it’s much more.
Generosity is the wellspring of appreciation, which means, only the one with a generous heart can appreciate others. That explains why appreciating doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It hurts our egos, at times, hence its uncomfortable to appreciate, especially those whom we don’t like or have something against.
However, there are many convincing reasons to develop a culture or habit of appreciation. At the same time, we should avoid patronising or flattering. There’s a thin line but with due care we can genuinely be appreciative of good people and deeds.
That begs us to answer the question, why should we appreciate others?
Firstly, it makes people feel good about themselves. Every human feels happy when appreciated. It’s very natural and I am sure it would be the rarest of rare cases to find an exception.
But is that the only reason? Definitely not.
I mentioned earlier in this article that generosity is the driver of appreciation. It is the virtue of giving good things to others, freely and abundantly.(1)
John 3:16 – “For god so loved the world, that he gave us his only begotten son…..”
God blessed us with the highest form of generosity. Even though we did not deserve it.
Matthew 5:48 – “You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’”
In a broader sense, God is calling us to copy or image Him. In other words, Christian life calls us to be generous.
What exactly generosity gives can be various things: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, emotional availability, and more.(2)
Only if one is generous with their time, attention, encouragement or emotional availability, can one recognise the good in someone else and value him or her.
Thus, there is a Biblical reason behind the act of appreciation (a result of generosity or charity).
That’s not it. There are more reasons to appreciate others; Like your own mental well-being.
Have you noticed that you yourself, feel happy when you make someone’s day by appreciating them? By appreciating someone, you triggered a sequence of positive emotions and actions, in them as well as yourself. Gratitude, stronger relationships, reciprocity are a few byproducts of your initial act of appreciating.
In short, the fruit of generosity or charity, expressed as appreciation of the good in others, is joy and peace.
Do you recall appreciating anyone? Or the times others appreciated you? I hope you do have memories of them. We can do more. Right now. Pick up the phone or email a note of appreciation to a deserving person. And be happy.
After all, don’t we all want to be happy and have peace of mind.
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2. Same as above