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"By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property." Voltaire
We all like to be appreciated. Everyone understands the value of acknowledging others, too. And yet, I observe people (including myself) passing up many opportunities to appreciate people today.
There have been times in my own life when I didn’t use the chance to acknowledge or appreciate. Through my own lack of self-confidence or powerlessness, appreciating others felt too much like giving away too much.
In today’s article I am talking about some ways my weak confidence would block me from appreciating others. Do any of these ring a bell with you?
1. Comparing. You have more stuff and/or power than I do. If I acknowledge you, it adds more to your pile and my pile is smaller in comparison.
2. Me first! I need to be appreciated before I'll feel like appreciating you. I haven't been appreciated enough, in the right way. My bucket must be full before I'll feel like adding to your bucket.
3. Competition. There's a limited supply of stuff and power. Giving any away increases my anxiety about not being able to get enough for myself.
4. Holding a Grudge. You took my stuff (money, success, love, respect, dignity, power) two hours/days/weeks/months/years ago, so there's no way I'm going to give you a compliment!
5. Judgment. I think you don't deserve it. I will decide when you've done enough to earn it.
6. Expectation. I don't want to give you acknowledgement just because you're expecting me to. Then my appreciation of you isn't special to you.
7. Being a fake. I fear you'll think I'm patronizing you, and that you'll reject my gesture.
8. Fear of Rejection. I feel vulnerable when I appreciate, so I won't acknowledge you if I'm scared you'll reject my gift.
A recent public health study asked students to choose one of two hypothetical job options:
1) Your salary would be $50,000 per year, and everyone else would earn $25,000 per year, or
2) You would make $100,000, and everyone else would make $250,000
Half of the students chose option 1. It seems they were more willing to give up half of their income to deny others the option of making more money than them!
This level of cutting off your nose to spite your face is astounding isn’t it? But most of us recognize when we shortchange ourselves in our closest relationships. How often do we deny ourselves an experience of joy, simply because we want to prevent another person from feeling better about themselves?
In what ways do you shortchange yourself when you don't appreciate others?
There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it. - Seneca
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