There is more hunger for love and appreciation
in this world than for bread – Mother Theresa
In previous issues we have discussed the importance of gratitude and its impact on happiness and wellbeing. Gratitude tends to be an internal, personal habit that we don’t readily share with other people, even if we are grateful for them being in our lives. To extend the principles of gratitude to be more external we need to involve another people. We do this through the practice of appreciation. When we openly and spontaneously appreciate other people it makes the other person feel good. It is also one of the very best ways to feel happy ourselves. Both our brain and the recipients brain are bathed in serotonin – a win/win happy outcome!
Kenneth Blanchard, in his popular management book, The One Minute Manager, talks about “catching people doing things right and then telling them”. How often in the workplace or in our personal lives do we focus on what people are not doing well and take for granted what they are going well or how they are making a positive difference by being and doing what they are doing? I see it all the time and I have been guilty of doing the same.
Think back to a time when someone appreciated you and how it made you feel. When we appreciate other people we put a deposit in the relationship bank account. So often when relationships are not going well it is because one of the parties feels taken for granted and is not feeling appreciated or valued.
When we make a commitment to appreciating other people, we make other people feel good, and in the process we get even more because when we appreciate and affirm other people we are also appreciating and affirming ourselves. Based on Jungian psychology, we only see in other people what we have in ourselves. This works for both the good and the not so comfortable parts of us. What this means is that the things we notice that we value in other people are the very things that we have in ourselves that we value.
When we take the time to affirm and appreciate other people for who they are, and for the joy and value they bring to our life, we live with greater joy and happiness. When we make other people feel good we automatically make ourselves feel good. It is a positive virtuous cycle of win/win!
Christmas is a wonderful time to appreciate those people who add value to our lives.
Merry Christmas, and thank you for being part of my community.