HTWFAIP: Appreciation

HTWFAIP: Appreciation

If you’ve read the last post, you know that to criticize is a sin when it comes to dealing with people. So we know what not to do. But what should we do instead?

Here it is - the opposite of criticism - sincere appreciation.

Why appreciation?

There are a few things every person wants, no matter the amount of status, power, or money they have: they want to feel recognized, important, and heard. In fact, those feelings are generally what drive ambitions of status, power, and money.

Regardless of their place in the world, people want to feel that their existence matters. But hear this: it’s not just people in generai.

It’s YOU and it’s ME!

We all want to feel heard, appreciated, and cherished. Of course those around us want that as well. It’s the reason we aspire, we strive, and it’s the reason we stress so much about what to do with our lives, because we have such a need to make something of it.

If we’re all so desperate for someone to tell us ‘Good job!’ then imagine how pleased another person will be when we do that for them.

What is Appreciation?

Appreciation is a practice in making others feel important. For it to work, we must first recognize how important others are in our day-to-day lives.

From the roommate who took out the trash, to the mother who made you meals, to the barista who made your coffee, recognizing the things that others do to make your life better is the most important part of being appreciative. This can be difficult because it requires us to admit to ourselves that our lives are determined by the actions of others. If we think we are self-made and only reliant on ourselves then there would be no reason to appreciate others. The truth is that we are dependent on others and appreciation recognizes that and thanks others for their contributions

After recognition comes verbalization. When someone has helped you in any way, tell them. Here are some sample phrases to try:

  • ‘I noticed that you did [blank]. Thank you for doing that.’
  • ‘I appreciate you for doing [blank]’
  • ‘You did a great job doing [blank]. Thank you.’

The World without Appreciation

A lack of appreciation drives people to do some crazy things. If they can’t get it in one way, they’ll find for it in another. Drugs, booze, crime - how many people would lead different lives if they had a larger sense of importance from a job, their family, or their community? I would be surprised to find someone with high self-esteem who also participated in many anti-social behaviors.

This need from people is why I believe we need to make an effort to involve people. If we don’t actively solicit others to join or help us, we do both ourselves and others a great dissatisfaction. We can’t do things along and others WANT to do great work while also feeling appreciated for it.

Appreciation vs. Flattery

You may want to think of appreciation as stroking people’s egos, but that is wrong - for that is flatter. Flattery is ‘telling others what they already think about themselves’. Appreciation isn’t meant to make another’s ego pop - it’s about sincerely recognizing another person’s efforts as they help you or as they themselves try to be a better human - as we all do.


If someone does something you appreciate - tell them! The more we encourage good behavior, the more good behavior we will get. But if we fail to recognize people for doing great things, they will be forced to take themselves elsewhere to get that sense of importance, whether that means another job, another friend, or another lifestyle.

When you do something well, do you not love being told so? Do others feel the same? And if you won’t appreciate someone - who will?







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