Appreciation is one of the most beautiful emotions there is.
We’ve all heard about gratitude and the power of it. We have been told on numerous occasions to feel grateful for our lives, and cultivate “the attitude of gratitude”. But we don’t talk about the emotion of appreciation as often.
The word “appreciation” carries with it the meaning of gratitude, but also an understanding and the enjoyment of what you are feeling gratitude towards. There’s that element of serene enjoyment in the word. To me, appreciation is more powerful than even gratitude.
I appreciate all the good things in my life, the conveniences, the ease, the abundance of resources and choices I’ve been blessed with; but I also appreciate the challenging things in my life, the learning opportunities, the lessons on life and love, the character building days, the hiccups along the way, the bumps in the road, etc. You see it really is all a choice for me.
Life is 10% about what happens and 90% about what we do. The reality is that we cannot stop the rain from falling, no matter how much we hate it; but we have the choice to put on a raincoat!
I remember when I first started my own journey of self-improvement, I had a very frustrated feeling towards life. I knew I needed to make some different choices, and go down a different career path. I felt trapped and helpless. A friend of mine told me that he only ever did what he enjoyed, and I dismissed his idea right away, saying: “How is that even possible? Don’t you sometimes have to do things you don’t really enjoy? Get real!” and he simply said: “If you absolutely have to do something, then find a way to enjoy it.”
This is so unexpected and so far from my usual way of thinking that it instantly woke me up from the victim mindset! All I needed to do was to look at my current career path as a stepping stone. It functions as a way to keep me busy, pay the bills, buys me the time I need to work more on myself, and it’s really a lot more enjoyable than I’d been giving it credit for!
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” It cannot be said more simply and clearly. And once I made a conscious choice to appreciate where I am right now, and make the most out of each day, my life because much more enjoyable, and I no longer feel trapped. The business itself is also doing much better, because if the new positive energy I’m putting into it.
It takes a little practice, of course, to get into the emotion of appreciation. Whether it’s a less than satisfactory job, a lacklustre relationship, a bland meal, … find a way to appreciate it for the functions it currently performs, and it will lead to more enjoyable opportunities.
The choice, as always, is yours.
Click here to read: “The Power of Appreciation”, Steve Taylor, PhD., Psychology Today
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