The Power of Appreciation
What do you think of when you hear the word “Appreciation”? Some words that come to mind for me are gratitude, recognition, acknowledgment, thanks, praise and love. And how do you feel when you’re acknowledged and appreciated? Fabulous, right?
Well let me ask you this ~ on a scale of 0-10, how would you rate yourself in regards to your appreciation of others? I’d venture to say that we ALL could use some improvement here, be it a little or a lot. We’re busy, worried that it will sound cheesy, that it will be uncomfortable, or perhaps we’re just too critically focused on what’s not working that we forget the simple power of appreciation.
And the biggest reason of all is that we don’t do it for ourselves! When was the last time you acknowledged yourself for how magnificent you are?
At a recent networking, I had the pleasure of hearing author, speaker and personal development expert Mike Robbins speak, and was positively captivated by his great energy and excellent storytelling. Turns out we have mutual friends and sort of dance in the same circles here in the bay area, so it was wonderful to make the connection.
I enjoyed his content so much, that I walked out of there with his 2 books, Be Yourself – Everyone Else is Already Taken and Focus on the Good Stuff, as well as his CD The Power of Appreciation, which is what inspired this post today.
Mike defines the Power of Appreciation in 2 steps. Step 1, is about your attitude or perspective. It’s about taking an appreciative attitude towards life, other people and ourselves. It’s about focusing on the good stuff, just like his book says! And then in Step 2, it’s about your actions. Doing, saying and acting in ways that are in alignment with that perspective.
It’s about using the power of appreciation to empower and inspire the people all around us, as well as using it on our selves, so we truly recognize what makes us unique and great. Because it has to start with ourselves! This is the key ingredient to true success and fulfillment!
Mike shared an example that I found extremely powerful. He compared this idea to a heartbeat. When our heart beats, it makes 2 beats one after the other. With the first beat, the heart pumps blood to itself, and with the second, the heart pumps blood to the rest of the body. It CANNOT happen the other way around. And so it is with us! We can’t give to others what we do not first give to ourselves.
One exercise Mike had us do was to turn to a partner and speak for a minute about things we appreciate about ourselves. How would celebrating your greatness publicly make you feel? Well for me and likely many others, it created a mix of feelings from pride and joy to discomfort and embarrassment. Which makes sense….after all, it’s ingrained into our culture that if we talk about ourselves we’re arrogant and full of ourselves!
But mostly it felt great.
So how do we go about infusing ourselves and the people around us with appreciation?
Well for starters, we have to expect it! This one goes for ourselves and others! As Werner Erhard said, “In every human being there is both garbage and gold – it’s up to us to choose what we pay attention to.” Because after all, whatever we look for is what we usually find!
Are you looking for people to be extraordinary, successful and great? Or are you expecting people to be rude, dislike you and not fulfill on their promises? It’s yet another choice that you can make consciously or unconsciously, just remember that your success and fulfillment is what’s on the line!
To really appreciate others, it is going to take courage. You might be laughed at or you might even have people thinking you have some alterior motive. Stay focused on what is true for you. When you are genuine and real in your acknowledgments, you can’t go wrong. You simply can’t mess up pure intentions.
It’s important to be specific in your appreciations. Instead of telling someone “you’re wonderful!”, try, “When you did this ______, the impact it had on me was _________.” This simple tweak makes the world of difference!
Mike shared two exercises on his CD that I want to share with you.
Exercise #1: Appreciating Others
Make a list of the significant people in your life and list next to each person what you respect, admire and appreciate about them.
1. How did that process feel?
2. Do those people actually know you feel that way about them?
3. How can you let them know, so that it really lands for them?
4. Now go do this….acknowledge them within the next 48 hours! Especially those that feel like a stretch!
There are many ways to do this. If you do it in person, be sure to make eye contact and speak from your heart. Do not forget to use their name, as that is the sweetest sound a person will ever here. You might want to send a heartfelt , handwritten letter. Yes birthdays and such are great to remember, but what about doing this on a random day for no other reason than to acknowledge the person? Or perhaps you want to make a video message so they can really see and feel your energy.
The sky’s the limit, just make it authentic and real and amazing things will come from this!
Exercise #2: Appreciating Ourselves:
Make a list as long as possible of the things you appreciate about yourself and the things you are proud of (qualities, talents, successes).
1. How did that process feel?
2. How big did you play? Did you truly acknowledge your greatness or did your gremlins get in the way?
3. What did you learn about yourself?
4. Now go share this list with someone else!! …. And do it with joyfully, because you are amazing!
So what actions can you take to more powerfully appreciate yourself?
First, create a regular practice. Journal, meditate, or find yourself an ally. It’s a great idea to have someone close to you who can serve as your support person….the person who will remind you to not beat yourself up….because you are extraordinary!
Second, when someone compliments you…..say thank you and shut up! Do not feel the need to instantly compliment the person back, and definitely do not deflect the comment with any negative self-talk you may have going on! Say thank you….and zip it.
Third, create a Sunshine File. I loved this one! As cheesy as it sounds, the idea is significant. Create a file that you keep very close to wherever you spend a lot of time, such as a desk drawer or night table. Put things inside such as cards, letters, quotes, pictures….anything that makes you feel fantastic and reminds you of your greatness!
I make my annual vision boards, but having a file like this on hand, of the things that are not just your dreams and visions but are you actual wonderful reality is such a fantastic idea. Thanks Mike!
Fourth, ask others for the acknowledgment you want! Talk about cutting to the chase! No more feeling bad when your spouse doesn’t recognize your new haircut, outfit or the pounds you’ve shed….celebrate yourself and let them know you how fabulous you feel and they will surely celebrate you as well!
Finally, appreciate others. The more you give it the more you’ll get it. And now here we are, we’ve come full circle in the magnificent power of appreciation.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to share it on the various social sites with your friends and followers. And be sure to check out Mike Robbins, you will be glad you did!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What do you appreciate about yourself? Share one thing….or many! This is my invitation to you to celebrate your awesomeness!