I’ve been in a little writing slump and it got me thinking about appreciation and how appreciation helps in our daily lives.
I’ve written about attitude and the difference between deserving and earning. These attitudes can impact our perceptions whether we have a positive or negative attitude, or if we think we deserve something rather than earning.
The attitude we choose, color the world around us. It also changes how we interpret the things which go on around us.
How we choose to see the world can impact how we view expectations and outcomes.
Expectation and appreciation
First, let’s talk about expectations. Expectations are a forward-looking and past reviewing point of view. For the future towards what we hope to gain and past reviewing by looking for what we did or didn’t receive.
It makes me think about expectations and their place, it’s always about the past or future but rarely for the present.
Now let’s look at appreciation. Appreciation, on the other hand, is mostly about the present. We can appreciate the experiences of the past but we can’t appreciate the future.
For the most part, we keep appreciation in the present. We appreciate what we have and what is around us. In this way, appreciation helps us remain motivated for today and tomorrow.
How is appreciation important?
As I mentioned above, our attitude creates the perspectives of the world around us. If we want to improve and grow, our attitude has to be positive and from this comes appreciation.
Let’s think about the people in our lives. Have you met a person trying to improve their lives and have a negative attitude? Possibly, but what happens?
These are the people who end up sinking lower and lower proving that a negative attitude moves us away from our goals and potential accomplishments.
Having appreciation helps us put our focus back to the present. It helps us recognize what we accomplished and to keep us positive so we can continue on this path.
As we know, our attitude has an impact on those around us. Appreciation helps us because it can show those around us that they and their positive actions towards us are valued.
We’ve all had the experience of working for someone or doing something for friends and family and not feeling their appreciation. It’s not like we were expecting a big deal about our actions. Yet, it makes doing things for a person who is unappreciative, difficult.
That’s one of the dangers of expectations, not getting a result and letting it affect you. Letting go of expectations and keeping your appreciation helps to keep positive during the negative experiences.
If we look at the core of appreciation we find gratitude. Within that gratitude, we can find the formula for happiness that is enduring rather than short-lived joy from superficial actions or objects.
Application of appreciation
I choose to think about expectations less and to focus on the things I appreciate in my life.
Focusing on the positive, the present, is why I think appreciation is important towards a positive attitude. It removes potentially false expectations and future disappointment with a sense of gratefulness for what we have.
That might not seem like a hard chance to make until you realize how often we have expectations about people and events.
When we think about it, having expectations on something puts the demand or pressure on the other person or event. It’s like we are giving up control of our reactions to something or someone else.
This isn’t to say that we give up completely on expectations. There are certain we do demand of others as employees and employers, yet most of us, including me, might demand far more than we should for things that might not really matter.
I ask you to take a moment to think how would things be in your life if there were fewer demands regarding what you must do and more appreciation for the things you do? Do you think that would make your life a little more enjoyable?
Yet, let’s look at it from the perspective of appreciation. We should be appreciative of the things we have and things are done for us. Yet, that doesn’t give us permission to accept just anything we’re given.
It’s our responsibility to find the balance between expectation, appreciation, and having standards for the actions in our lives.
Take a moment and consider where in your life you tend to expect more from others without expressing your appreciation at least as often.
Try to go through all aspects of your life, from family to friends, work to social, and everything in between. How often do you expect and how often do you appreciate?
Are there times when you are consistently more expectant and less appreciative? What is the underlying belief which drives that? Are you the Person In Charge, and others must do as you say?
What can you do to tone down the expectations and demands, and work a little more appreciation into your life?
And if you’re up for a real challenge, try to take a whole day with no expectation, and respond to everything you possibly can with appreciation.
It can be challenging, but it is also quite rewarding.
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