Three Easy Ways To Show Appreciation

With all the training I’ve done on the value of appreciating others and recognizing their contributions, I thought it was high time I ran a little experiment. This past weekend, I decided to pay attention to other people everywhere I went and go out of my way to make them feel good. Here are the ways we can appreciate others, what I found through my experience and the reasons our own crap gets in our way of doing this more often.

Tactic #1: Compliment a person on what they’re wearing.

What happened to me:

I was out with my cousin at a fabulous show and there was a woman standing in line with the most frickin’ adorable headpiece I’d ever seen. My cousin enlightened me to the proper name: a fascinator. (I need people around to keep me proper). She walked by us and I just looked right at her and told her she was rocking that headpiece. I told her she looked adorable. Her reaction? Utter delight.

The next day, in the mall, the cutest little young thing (I can say that now, I’m 33 and not young, cute or little) was helping us at a store. She was wearing not only an adorable outfit, but her lipstick was so striking. I actually chose to point out her lipstick. What happened? That brightly painted little mouth turned into the brightest of smiles.

What gets in our way:

Here’s the tough truth, ladies. It is generally our own insecurity, our own feelings of unworthiness and sometimes, just our own ego that keeps us from not only noticing but from complimenting other women. The worst part? If you’re standing with a friend and discussing how much you love what you see on someone else, and they catch you, they question why the hell you’re staring and what you’re talking about. If you’re admiring them or something about them, let them in on the secret.

Tactic #2: Smile. Say thank you. Mean it.

What happened to me:

At dinner, a male server, who happened to be easy on the eyes, which clearly helps, took our drink orders. We asked for his recommendation for the best martini and took his advice. When he delivered it to our table, I went out of my way to appreciate not only the beauty of the drink (it was a mint chocolate martini so truly was quite pretty) and for making such a delicious glass of booze for me to enjoy. The whole dining experience changes when you include the people serving you. And smiling. Seriously? The fact that we’re still talking about this astounds me. A smile has an effect that lasts long beyond the moment.

What gets in our way:

Sometimes, our own busy agenda gets in the way of really seeing other people. Sometimes, we think servers and other customer service folks are just doing their job and don’t feel the need to go out of our way to thank them or appreciate them. That might be fine for you, but I’d rather take comfort in knowing my food was delivered sans spit. Not to mention the fact that the mood of the person making your food and drink changes the energy of that food. Crabby people making your food equates to “energetic spit”. No thank you, please pass the bread basket.

Tactic #3: Expect nothing in return.

What happened to me:

Throughout this little experiment, I wasn’t expecting anyone to return the favor. I focused solely on what I saw that I liked, admired or appreciated, and chose to put words to it.

What gets in our way:

This is an uber difficult point to remember. Appreciating others with no expectation of reciprocation is so, so hard. This is a gut check. A heart check. What are your intentions? My only goal was to be focused outward and acknowledge the awesomeness all around me. If I’m constantly expecting a pat on the back because of what I say or do, I am setting myself up for serious disappointment.

The beauty of it though: karma takes care of it. Be a good person looking for good things. Good things will find their way back to you. And everyone you encounter will be blessed by your presence and maybe, just maybe, they’ll walk a little taller, smile a little more, and who knows? Maybe even pay it forward. Talk about power. Go appreciate someone today. You’ll be glad you did.

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