Appreciation is the Elixir to our soul. As human beings, we crave the approval of others. It’s one of our most basic needs. We want to be appreciated but hesitate to return the favor. In today’s world, appreciating others is extremely rare or very difficult for us as we believe that somehow praising others will make us lesser than them. We grow up believing that the only way to be more successful in life is by downplaying other’s achievements while exaggerating ours.
“You look Beautiful”
“You are Amazing”
“This is Awesome”
These kinds of phrases are scarcely used in our lives. Unfortunately, it is much easier for us to degrade or badmouth someone as compared to praising them. It never crosses our mind that a small token of appreciation can not only uplift others but also make our day 1000 times better. Try giving a random compliment to the people around you and watch their face light up. Seeing that glow on their face upon your compliment will fill you with warmth inside. You will feel much happier and lighter.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “Appreciation” can be defined as:
Appreciation is an act of acknowledgment. When we praise others, we are acknowledging them, their talents, their good qualities, and their contributions. But lack of appreciation on our part shows that we are ignorant or merely denying their value. It proves that we are too bitter to acknowledge what is good and too small-hearted to give people their due credit.
Let’s take an example of our workplace. Your boss assigned you a job and ask you to complete it within an hour. The deadline is tight. But you intend to complete it on time. You did it on time and informed your boss. Your boss said “Oh okay! You can go home now”. What will be your reaction? Will you want to put so much effort again? Or work EVER again? Next time when you will be assigned a task, you will try to just get done with it. On contrary, if your Boss praises you and gives you some incentive then you will be more enthusiastic to do the next task.
This basic example is how our lives are working. Appreciation is fuel for us. It’s the elixir that gives us the confidence to prosper more in life. Lack of appreciation is like a car running without fuel which will soon collapse and stop working. Complimenting others will also help our interpersonal relationships. It will improve our equation along with reducing conflicts.
However, it can also be a slippery slope. Sometimes, people exaggerate while praising others which don’t sit well. The intentions of such kind of people are doubtful. It seems like people are praising us to get in our good books or to get some kind of advantage from us. Over-appreciation or exaggeration is most common in our workplaces and educational institutes.
The main question is: Why do we not appreciate others? There could be multiple answers to that question.
It Never crossed My Mind:
As much absurd it sounds, it’s a perfectly valid reason. While growing up, our elders never taught us to appreciate the good in front of us. We took everything for granted and not as a favor. Our parents took care of us because it’s our right and their responsibility. They are just doing their duty.
As grown-ups, we are too self-consumed by our jobs, relationships, life, finances. We are so busy that we forget to just stop for a second and appreciate right what is in front of us. If someone does good for us, we simply say “Thanks” and move on. It never crosses our minds to acknowledge their efforts and the time they took out for us. We are too busy running the race of life to notice anyone or anything else.
It’s Nothing Or They Owed Me That:
When a person does something good for us, we brush it away saying that it’s nothing. Especially in the case of friendships and relationships, we take others for granted. If they do something for us we believe that’s what they are for and there is no need to praise them. Sometimes, we may also think that I did a favor for him in past and now he returned it so now “We’re Even”. It might be the truth but few extra words of appreciation and acknowledgment are not going to steal our “precious” breath away.
It Hurts Our Ego:
This is the bitter reality. If someone does good or is better than us in something then it’s very difficult for us to digest. Our Ego will never allow us to praise and accept their abilities. We will keep finding excuses to somehow degrade and downplay their efforts. How dare they surpassed me? They did miss a point here. I could have done a much better job. Our ego is now of the size of the elephant as we keep feeding it by criticizing others unnecessarily and pointing on their flaws. We remain stuck and become miserable.
This eventually leads to more dissatisfaction in life making it more difficult for us to see others growing successful while we keep failing. We can break this ongoing cycle by showing appreciation to others. Acknowledge their abilities and Move On. Don’t keep thinking about how we are better than them and vice versa.
So the next time someone does something good for you. Appreciate them. And if your competitor did better than you. Gracefully accept that instead of getting bitter about it. Life would be much easier if we start appreciating others and accept our shortcomings.