Another Power of Appreciation

As our mothers taught, we all know it is polite to say “Thank You!” and important to mean it. The sharing of appreciation with others builds rapport and shows respect. These are keys to effective communication and healthy relationships.

However, I believe there is another power of appreciation. One that is often not recognized but equally important. The power of recognition of how good life is for so many of us. The power to never forget our blessings. The power to avoid the negative thoughts others hope you will share with them. The power of appreciating each day, not just the days you are reminded to appreciate. The power to not let the little bumps of life become your focus.

The people I know that experience genuine, deep appreciation are the happiest people I know. They don’t just have a great attitude and outlook on life, they see the world differently than others. Why? Because they have overcome the burdens of false troubles and overcome the requirement to play along with those that do not appreciate. They radiate an energy that can be strong enough that others may incorrectly think it is an act. Others may think, “How can anyone be that happy?” Well, they can.

I mention this because most people I know are very fortunate yet few really appreciate it except upon occasional reflection. Much of the time, they allow the so-called “troubles of life” to bulldoze their appreciation out of the way. Sure, the world can be a tough place and bad things can happen. Yet, for the most part, the people I am around are well fed, housed, entertained, loved… and only nominally appreciative. And  usually only when reminded.

If your biggest problems in life are how your favorite sports team is performing or that you didn’t get invited to a party or that you are out of cigarettes or that someone won’t do what you demand, then I believe your life is pretty good. None of these things would get a second thought if the concern of the week was whether there will ever be any more food or will the epidemic kill you or is there no more fuel within a thousand miles.

Is that an exaggeration of problems and an overoptimistic appreciation of life? Maybe to those that need to be angry, need to be upset, need to blame others for their problems, and need to defeat others to feel good about themselves. I believe that there are problems and challenges in life that can be heartbreaking but to allow the trivial problems to rise to this level is not only disrespectful to self, it is debilitating.

I believe we all want to be appreciative and that many try to be appreciative but don’t know how. Cognitive distortions work against us, as do the negative thoughts of many of those around us. But appreciation is about attitude, about self-esteem, about healthy boundaries, about vision and, strangely, about communication skills with one’s self. These can all be improved, grown and nurtured.

If everyday is not your Thanksgiving Day, it can be. But it requires a promise to yourself, not just a goal. It requires learning about yourself and others, not simply uttered words. It can even require hard decisions about how you spend your time and with whom you spend your time.

When everyday is Thanksgiving Day, the world has joy others miss, laughter that won’t stop, and comfort and peace in your soul.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. Really. I appreciate the opportunity.


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.