Sunday, June 13, 2010

52CP24: Appreciation

As you read this, I am either en route to Carpinteria State Beach (CA) or already setting up camp! This is a scheduled post, and I won't be able to read comments or check out links until Sunday, June 20th, when I get back. I hope that doesn't dissuade any of you from participating, though!

This week I wanted to take a little bit of a closer look at one aspect of “saying” that I touched on last Saturday.
I mentioned the importance of expressing appreciation, and would like to expand a bit on that.

While it is a great thing to express general gratitude, showing appreciation for something specific is that much more meaningful. On occasion my husband is mystified when I say “thank you”, and will ask “for what?” Then I will tell him specifically what he did that I appreciated. It could be something as trivial as taking out the garbage or something more meaningful like working all weekend on a home improvement project, but I don’t want him to think that I don’t notice and/or that I take him for granted.

Often we will compliment someone, “Oh, you look so pretty today!” And that is a great thing, and you probably don’t need to go beyond that. However, I personally would like to know why, so I can do it again. Is it my hair? The color I’m wearing? The cut of the dress that’s flattering? The way I did my makeup? Again – probably not necessary, but so much more helpful and personal!

I apparently am The Giver of Overly Specific and Therefore Odd Compliments. The best example of this is from my college days: One of the girls in my dorm had the most beautiful complexion and, one afternoon when we were all just sort of hanging around, I told her something to the effect that “the colors on her face were all in exactly the right places”, which made way more sense in my head than it did out loud! I was thinking that the pink in her cheeks was exactly where they taught you to apply blush, etc. Oh well, at least I said

Along those same lines – I believe that “constructive appreciation” is a valuable tool in helping to grow – in our jobs, in our creative pursuits, in our relationships. What am I doing right? Tell me, so I can keep going that direction. I somehow tend to think that this is more helpful than “constructive criticism”, although that does have its place, too…

In our day-to-day routines and mundane duties, how often do we take the time to stop and appreciate anything? A sunrise, the taste of your favorite beverage, the sound of the birds singing, the freshness of the breeze… How much are we missing out on because we’re not being appreciative, and how much richer and more blessed would our lives be if we switched gears and made that a habit?

My thought too is that, as we are being more appreciative, we are also becoming more aware – of our surroundings, of the ones we love – even of ourselves! I’m going to strive to make this a habit, and watch myself be dazzled by the abundance of things in my life that I can truly appreciate! You, too?

Here's what I'm proposing this week for our challenge: Do something specific to show someone what you appreciate specifically about him/her, then report back. It doesn't matter if you make something, say something, write something, or do something, just let us know how it went! Alternately, if you want to take time out some day to really notice and appreciate your surroundings, then do that and tell us about it! I just really want this week to be about testing what happens when we do something like this...

I'll report back on my own personal experiment when I return next Sunday. Have a great week!


Deb Neerman said...

Really thought-provoking, Susan. I made a card for the challenge that I hope truly evokes appreciation.

Have a fabulous weekend! Hugs!

Beverly Gotthardt said...

I hope I got the gist of what you were really challenging us to do, I'm not sure, but I'm squeezing in under the wire with an attempt. Keep up the good challenges, you inspire us to use our noodles.

Curt in Carmel said...

I'm going to thank you specifically for posting your thoughts on appreciation. Your ideas regarding the concept of appreciation are right on the mark. I believe that we all have felt "unappreciated" at some time or another or made to feel that what we did that we thought was special or above the mark, went totally unnoticed. I believe that when someone is made to feel this way often enough, they stop doing those special things and become bitter. Showing appreciation is so important, and it takes such little effort to show it. Thanks for bringing this topic up and making people think about this. I appreciate you for doing it! Best, Curt