Aim to Appreciate

Do you have any certificates or awards stashed away? They may be gathering dust or mold, but it’s hard to toss them out. Most of the time we decide we’ll keep them, at least for a while longer.

What were your certificates or awards for? People are awarded certificates for a variety of reasons. One of the most meaningful certificates has to be a certificate of appreciation. That’s because there are few feelings better than the feeling of being appreciated.

William James (1842-1910) was a philosopher and psychologist who said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.” We all appreciate being appreciated!

One of the best ways to nurture a relationship with another person is by showing appreciation for who they are or what they’ve done. Sometimes a relationship is strained, alienated, or maybe just blah, but show a little appreciation and things start turning around for the good!

We can aim to appreciate not only what’s good in others but also what’s good in circumstances. Faith in God includes the faith that God can have good come out of any set of circumstances. There’s something in almost any set of circumstances that we can appreciate.

Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp during World War II. At one point they were reading the Bible and, inspired by the verse at the end of this piece, were trying to come up with reasons to give thanks to God. Betsy prayed, “Thank you for the fleas.” Her sister Corrie couldn’t see a good reason to appreciate the fleas. But sometime later, they found out that the reason the guards left them alone so much was because they didn’t want to spend anymore time than necessary in the flea infested barracks! Corrie and Betsy had a new appreciation for the fleas!

And how about finding reasons to express appreciation for that which is ordinary or just ho-hum? How about aiming to be appreciative for “ordinary” days? G. K. Chesterton wrote, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” Emerson wrote, “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”

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