6 steps for developing the skill of appreciation
As humans, we all have wants and desires. One of the most basic needs and desires of human nature is the need to be recognized and appreciated. Learning how to cater to this basic human need will go a very long way towards developing healthy relationships in your life. We complain often, I think because we’re so used to being disappointed and dissatisfied. In turn, we get more of the same. Appreciation, on the other hand, brings a new level of satisfaction into our lives.
In this post, I’m going to shed light on why appreciation is important and how to develop the skill of being appreciative. By developing this skill, you will see how people begin to take interest in your needs, desires, and interests. Life will unfold and shine favor on your life. Appreciation is a skill in human relations that is often… Unappreciated.
What is Appreciation?
According to oxforddictionaires.com appreciation is “Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” Which has roots in the Latin word appretiatio, in so many words this means; to set a price, appraise. Why is this important? Because in order to properly appreciate someone or something, we have to think about what it means to us.
Often times we don’t stop to think about the good deeds that people have done for and to us. We give so much attention to the negative, but neglect the positive things people say and do to us. This is a dangerous place to be because if you’re not careful you will find yourself only responding to negative. So guess what? We get and see more negative.
But when you focus yourself on the people that want to see you win and want to see you do better, you begin to appreciate those that are on your side.
The Human Need for Appreciation
Since everyone has a desire to be appreciated, then everyone has a void that needs to be filled. We thrive on interaction as social creatures. Within the construct of our society, we progress mainly by how we view ourselves and others. When we feel appreciated by others, we tend to feel better about ourselves.
Only other people can fulfill that void. Appreciation in life is a desire that typically goes unfulfilled in most people. We look to others to fill our needs on a daily basis, especially if we are in relationships. That being said, being more appreciative is a way to fill a need typically unmet. Even if a person doesn’t believe that they need attention and appreciation, they do.
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
Psychologist William James
In essence, when you appreciate someone, you are recognizing that persons ability to contribute into your life. Neglecting someone is the opposite. Eventually, the things that your spouse or mate does in the relationship, will be looked at as an obligation, as opposed to a contribution.
The Importance of Appreciation in Relationships
Appreciation in a relationship is the oil that keeps the engine running smoothly. If there is no oil in your car, it causes the metal to basically overheat and damages the engine. Oil is used to lubricate the engine and keep it cool, without it, your vehicle will not last long. The same is true for your relationship.
If appreciation is lacking in a relationship, things can get heated very quickly. Temperatures rise and friction escalates causing the relationship to be damaged. This is why it is important to constantly check the level of appreciation in your relationship. I like to do this by taking time to recognize how my wife contributes to our relationship.
If I was to focus only on the things that she doesn’t do (that I think she should) then it can cause us to develop resentment towards each other. Sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, you have to take a step back and focus on what you appreciate about your partner and not what you are disappointed about.
It really works, if you work it! People are more apt to take constructive criticism if they feel appreciated. But if they don’t feel appreciated beforehand, they will feel attacked. When I coach argumentative couples, they have usually developed a very defensive position. This is usually because they have neglected to see their partners contributions to the relationship.
Benefits of Appreciation
Taking a step back and appreciating the small things can go a long way, especially in a relationship. From my experience, when someone doesn’t feel appreciated, they tend to distance themselves and the relationship starts to go downhill. People want to feel appreciated for their contributions to the relationship.
It makes them feel like they matter to you. When someone feels taken for granted, they will start to seek things outside of the relationship to appreciate them. But when they feel appreciated and that what they do matters, it begins to change their view of you. A few things happen when a person begins to feel recognized and appreciated:
- They want to continue getting better.
- They feel loved.
- They want to make you feel appreciated
- You can actually change someone’s life.
- Creates confidence in you and them
- Removes tension
Just to name a few benefits. One of the biggest benefits that I’ve noticed, is that it creates a feeling of giving that didn’t cost you one cent. That’s right, you can give a compliment, without spending a dollar. Even though you should show appreciation often, it’s a gift that lasts a lot longer than a physical gift.
People may forget your name, face or even Twitter name, but they never ever forget how you made them feel. This is why it’s so important to develop this skill. You have the ability to create good feelings in others that will come back to you in many tremendous ways. These feelings include:
- Good Karma
- More Interest in you
- Better relationships
- Better Marriages
- Better sex
- More sex
That’s right, better and more sex! I could go on about that one… But I won’t! Just try it and see what happens. That’s probably the quickest way to know if appreciation really works. Chances are you’re not about to have sex right now? So, I’ve outlined some steps for you to work on outside of the bedroom, car, Burger King bathrooms or wherever you do your thing. These steps will help you to be more observant and complimentary.
“If appreciation is lacking in a relationship, things can get heated very quickly. Temperatures rise and friction escalates causing the relationship to be damaged.”
Steps to Development
- Start by Appreciating the people that have helped you become who you are. Give them a call and thank them for something they have done for you in the past. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been in the past, try to reach out to them expecting nothing in return and thank them for the kindness they’ve offered.
- Be more interested in people in. Especially if you’re in a relationship. The best way to develop the appreciation for people is to observe the effort they give and observe what areas they find interesting.
- Listen for clues. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Listen to what people are saying, they will give you the clues of their interests. Most people tell you exactly what they want you to pay attention to.
- Watch for signs. What’s different and unique about them? This goes a long way because more than likely a person has consciously put in the effort to stand out. By noticing these subtle differences they’ll look at you differently from most everyone else. This builds rapport, it says ‘you know something about what I know, we’re a lot alike.
- Smile more! The power of a smile is underrated, it can go along way toward creating a feeling of appreciation. Giving a smile is also a gift that doesn’t cost you a thing, so give it often.
- Learn about different things and give them away. I believe a full life comes from experiencing different perspectives other than your own. This allows you to have a look into the minds of others. Learning from someone other than yourself opens you up to learning more about yourself. The more you learn about yourself, the easier it becomes to appreciate what others have to offer. Open up books, read blogs, listen to Relationships & Chill podcast (Shameless plug, I know!) but the key is to become more open.
Appreciation is one of those things that if you don’t do it periodically, you will slowly start to take people for granted. When people feel taken for granted, you will start to become a burden to them. Once that happens, the tension becomes obvious and you will have a lot of making up to do.
A good way to start being more appreciative is to give compliments often. But too often and you’ll seem fake and phony. But not enough and you’ll become disliked. So treat complimenting like seasoning your food. Too much and it gets thrown away, too little and you’ll have to add more, but when it’s just right, people will gobble it up!
Ultimately, a little appreciation often will go a long way in dealing with people. It’s mainly good for you because “Alone, all alone Nobody but nobody Can make it out here alone.” (Maya Angelou-Alone)
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter (The LoveLetter) and the Relationships & Chill Podcast for more amazing relationship, dating and self-improvement content.
Peace & Blessing
Coach R. Anthony
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