Margaret Cousins once said, “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary”. Webster says that the definition of appreciation is the ability to recognize and have gratitude for something or someone.
My short story starts out with the CEO of a company addressing a management meeting that he had called together. He holds up a hundred dollar bill and asks everyone at the meeting, "Who would like this new hundred dollar bill?" Hands went up all over the room. He said, "I’m going to give this hundred dollar bill to one of you, but first I need to crumple it." He wadded up the bill and asked, "Who still wants it?" Hands were quickly raised. The CEO dropped the bill and ground it into the floor with his shoe. He picked up the crumpled, dirty bill. "Now who wants it?" Everyone still lifted their hands. "Friends, you have all learned a valuable lesson” the CEO concluded. “No matter what I did to the money, you still want it because its value hasn’t changed. Even though the bill is crumpled and dirty, it’s still worth twenty dollars.” Although someone may have done something wrong in their life, he or she still has infinite worth. Every person has value. Do you see others—and yourself—as having value? This is why being appreciated is so important in life.
Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It's also energizing. When our value feels at risk, as it so often does, that worry becomes preoccupying; this drains and diverts our energy from creating value. We're all more vulnerable and needy than we like to imagine. Authentically appreciating others will make you feel better about yourself, and it will also increase the likelihood they'll invest more in their work, and in you.
Appreciation starts with appreciating yourself first. If you have difficulty openly appreciating others, it's likely you also find it difficult to appreciate yourself. Take a few moments at the end of the day to ask yourself this simple question: "What can I rightly feel proud of today?" If you are committed to constant self-improvement, you can also ask yourself, "What could I do better tomorrow?" Both questions hold your value.