Thursday, October 3, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge # 16: Appreciation

    Appreciation is lifeblood. It's easier to do things for others when they appreciate it. When they don't appreciate it, it makes it difficult. We can go forever, getting things done without any appreciation from another, but it doesn't feel very good.
    You can't force another person to show gratitude for you, but you can do your part and be grateful for them.I don't believe in waiting for others to change first, it's the approach I used to take and I noticed, it really doesn't work. What does work is taking the initiative and catalyzing change yourself. The last thing that I want is for this post to inspire you to demand appreciation from others.
    Sometimes, people grow apart, they grow cold, distant and indifferent toward one another after a while. I feel that often, what's missing is a healthy, regular dose of appreciation and gratitude. It's a cure for distance, it draws people closer, turns them toward each other in love and warms up even the iciest of beings.
    I stumbled upon something absolutely phenomenal yesterday. It's a new name for a model for building communities, businesses and organizations that I feel makes a ridiculous amount of sense. It could be easily applied to families and even a group of only two people. It's called AI, or "Appreciation Inquiry".

    Imagine the difference in your life and how it would effect other's lives if you could live by this everyday with your mate, your children, and in your company and community. It would be simply amazing. I'm going to make it a habit of reading this every single morning as part of "morning power ritual". 
    How can you show appreciation? There are many ways, I really like the ideas here and here, but nothing beats coming up with your own ways, because no one knows the people you love like you do. No one knows what will mean the most to your loved ones or what will "speak their language" the way that you do.
   The article "Appreciation is the Key to a Happy Marriage" says "The more a spouse focuses on a partner's positive attributes and behaviors, the more emotionally bonded she will feel toward him. As love and emotional intimacy grows, it will become easier to express appreciation, and so on." and "Spouses will find that paying attention to and complimenting the fine traits and behaviors of their partner produces a ripple effect. They become more aware of positive aspects of other people and of what is going well in their own lives."
    I believe that it's as simple as this: genuine appreciation creates good feelings and make it easier to genuinely feel more and more love and appreciation. It builds on itself and continuously increases with each appreciative feeling. The other thing is: no two things can occupy the same space at the same time, when you are appreciating your mate, you can't be seeing the bad in him.

Your challenge today is to find something that you genuinely appreciate about your partner. It doesn't have to be anything big, it can be something very small. It doesn't even need to be something that has happened recently. Sometimes we don't acknowledge something that happens that we truly did appreciate at the time that it happened. It's never too late to acknowledge it, and it's likely that it will feel really good to the person. So, today ask yourself: What do I truly appreciate about my partner? Come up with at least one thing, but the more you can think of the better. Choose at least one (if you do only one, make it a good one) and let him know that you're thankful. Sincerely verbalize your gratitude. This is especially powerful if you say what you're specifically appreciative for in front of other people.
You can also let him know in many non-verbal ways that you appreciate him. Make eye contact, smile, hug him or do something nice for him. Let this entire day be a day that you live in appreciation, not only of your mate, but of yourself and your life.

Dalai Lama, tells us: “Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ ”

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