One of the most revolutionary acts of self- care and loving kindness is generating appreciations! Learning to give and receive appreciations is an investment in who you are and in the people you surround yourself with. Appreciations require your sensitive awareness and emphasize the unique qualities you and others bring to the moment. Appreciating is a way to focus on what’s going well and to add value to everyone involved.
Appreciation is defined as “adding value.” Just like when we invest time, money, or our attention in our home, business, or relationships, our investments appreciate in value. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, feels strongly about appreciation. He writes, “Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” When relationships are not nurtured by a sense of appreciation, relationships suffer and even fail.
THREE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS TO MASTERING APPRECIATIONS
1. Keep It Brief
Give your appreciation in one single out-breath. Going on and on about how great someone is, is an easy way to lose impact and efficacy. Make whatever you are saying receivable by keeping it short and succinct.
2. Speak Unarguably
Avoid over exaggerating. Speak only for yourself. “You are the world’s best massage therapist,” or, “That was the best holiday dinner ever” are totally arguable! Avoid hyperbolic words like “best,” “most,” and “greatest,” and instead focus on how you were specifically impacted by the other person. Hint: This usually means speaking about how you feel.
3. Be Specific
Similar to over exaggerating, overgeneralizing leads to ambiguity and misses the mark. What does saying, “You really saved the day” or “That was amazing” really mean or have to do with someone’s presence? Adding your sensitive attention to these generalities may sound more like, “I feel relieved and happy you are helping me with this.” Focus on the inner nature, or essence, of a person, like their integrity, patience, kindness, honesty, and how you were positively impacted.
FAVORING APPRECIATIONS OVER CRITICISM
As the holidays are quickly approaching, this is a particularly auspicious time to grow your gratitude muscles by giving appreciations to the people you care for and, most importantly, to yourself. Shining the light of your sensitive attention provides an essential nutrient that fortifies all your relationships. Appreciations generate genuine connections, bolster feelings of well-being and worth, and elevate all your relationships from ordinary to extra-ordinary!
This is an excerpt from our Nov/Dec article in Massage&Bodywork Magazine. Access the full article Now!