The Art of Appreciation
“I love you…”
“I appreciate you…”
“I’m grateful for you…”
How good does it feel when we have someone say these things to us? When we have someone in our life reach out and extend themselves to let us know that they value us.
How often do you say this kind of thing to others? How often do you have it said to you?
Appreciation is an interesting phenomena.
In the financial world, things that appreciate mean they go up in value.
This is true of relationships. When appreciation exists in a relationship, it inexorably increases in value over time. Especially when the appreciation is offered with skill and elegance.
Yep appreciation is a skill, and it's possible get really damn good at it… and it makes relationships flourish.
The opposite of appreciation in the financial world is depreciation. Depreciation is when things decrease in value over time.
Relationships that don’t appreciate, are liable to depreciate.
This is true of relationships of any and all forms. Friendships, romantic/sexual partnerships, family, work colleagues.
If I'm not actively taking the time to water and fertilise the gardens of my relationships with the specific nutrients they need to grow, they may slowly begin to wilt. Distance may begin to occur, resentment may begin to breed, passion might diminish. I will begin to care less, withhold more, and lose the spark that once drew us together. The silence that grows instead can be excruciating.
One of the nutrients for a thriving relationship is, of course, appreciation.
Appreciation is an active acknowledgment of the value another brings to my life, and this gives the first clue to what it takes to truly master the art of appreciation: acknowledge value.
To acknowledge the value someone brings to my life is an act of vulnerability. It requires me sharing the impact another has had on me, I must contact my heart and share it with them. When I reach deep for appreciation it often brings tears to my eyes, because I am touching those places inside me that feel cared for, that really truly feel the love I am trying to convey to this person in my life that I value.
When people close to me in my life say things like “I love you” or “I appreciate you”, I tend to now ask them “What do you love about me?” or “What do you appreciate about me?”
I’m not being a smart-ass here. Actually what I am doing is offering them the opportunity to become specific in their acknowledgment of me and as such increasing the aperture by which I will be able to receive their love and care for me.
This act, of asking for the detail, is actually also a gift in and of itself. It allows this other person the opportunity to reveal more of themselves vulnerably with me, and as such brings them into a closer state of intimacy together with me.
We both benefit in this beautiful exchange!
This is the second clue to mastering the art of appreciation: be specific.
To be specific requires being incredibly attentive in our observations of this other person and the way I watch them in life, and then to convey that to them.
The effect of being seen like this, being seen for how I show up in my life and then having it shown to me reflected through the loving mirror of another’s eyes… is incredible.
It is an immense gift to be able to give someone this depth of appreciation, and relationships will absolutely thrive with this level of attention.
If you truly want intimacy in your connections. If you want your partner to feel really loved by you. If you want to let your friends know how much they mean to you. If you want to return the gift of care your parents gave you in the raising of you… then learn how to be good at appreciation.
Master it and watch how your relationships transform.
“Prem. That you took the time, energy and effort to reach out and intentionally form a friendship with me, independent of the relationship you have with Khali, touched me deeply. It had me both become a champion for your relationship, as well as had me know that I am valued, respected and that my friendship with Khali would not be hindered by your relationship. If anything I have found that my friendship with Khali has increased by your presence in his life. I’m so grateful for the friendship that has flourished between us because of this action you took, of how much fun I have with you, how easy it feels to live with you, how much I learn with you, and I still marvel at just how elegant it was how you did this. Well played sister, well played.”