What is appreciation?

Sometimes in life it’s hard to know how to accept things offered to us.

The adage goes “it’s the thought that counts” with the added assumption – so you better appreciate the effort.

But what about those times you don’t appreciate something? When something has been offered and you’re just cynical about it. I mean, just what do we do with appreciation?

“I appreciate you” or “I appreciate what you tried to do” or “I appreciate the situation you’re facing”.

Such a loaded and confusing turn of phrase. It can swing from being a genuine “that was kind” to “I need to appease you quickly and efficiently”.

Appreciating people is hard. It means you have to take a moment and consider just what it is you’re trying to do.

Connecting with another person, that’s what you’re doing. When you appreciate something, you’re letting them know you have empathy with them and you are sharing in something they have offered.

It means letting go of your ego for a moment to accept the other person. To accept that they tried something for you and regardless of the outcome their action meant something.

Because all we can do is judge people on our actions.

When the call centre person says “I’m sorry and I appreciate what you’re going through” it’s hard to know if that’s genuine, or if it’s the patter they’ve been trained to say.

But when we recognise someone for doing something, and we let them know – that’s beautiful right there.

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Get in touch with someone. Let them know you appreciate them. You don’t have to use the words “I appreciate you for…” as that can seem quite contrived. But you can let someone know why they’re appreciated.

Truly it’s a gift. We often reserve if for our close loved ones. Imagine how much stronger and more connected we could be if we accepted and appreciated what someone else did.

Beyond that though, we start to realise we can appreciate all sorts of things. We can appreciate difference – be that difference of skin colour, difference of opinion, difference of religion, difference of work practise, difference of hair style, and all sorts of difference.

When we can appreciate that which is beyond our modus operandi, that’s when we become the best we can be. We don’t have to like what’s happening, but an action being appreciated means we start to bridge gaps to resolution.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

One thought on “What is appreciation?”

  1. Eric Foss whilst at Pepsi also referred to an alternative dictionary definition of ‘appreciation’. To appreciate can also mean the ‘rise in value’ of something, I love this. To appreciate a person generally is to raise the value of them to you. Thanks for sharing!

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