The power of appreciation Patsy Kensit
When we were children, most of us had it drummed into us that saying please and thank you was not optional. I grew up knowing I’d be in real trouble if I didn’t watch my manners, and I started encouraging my boys to say ‘ta’ before they could even really talk. They’re grown men now, but I’m still proud of how courteous and respectful they are, so it was well worth the effort.
However, sometimes I wonder if the ‘thank you’ response is too automated. It was meant to be a sign of appreciation, and remains so, but, by not considering it a little deeper, are we missing better ways to share how thankful we are for the blessings bestowed on us by our loved ones?
It’s become apparent to me as I’ve progressed in my career and personal life, that one of the key foundations of real, mutual love and care is the ability to appreciate one another. And for me, that starts with ourselves and our inner lives.
Recognising that we deserve courtesy, respect and appreciation is one thing, but learning to say thank you to ourselves is harder. It doesn’t necessarily mean showering ourselves in praise but valuing our bodies and minds enough to know when they need rest. At the time of writing, we are in the midst of the corona crisis and many of the things we all thought we valued; beautiful things, nice meals out, travel and freedom have been stripped from us.
It’s been challenging for everyone, each of us having our own mountains to climb. For those alone, it’s loneliness and isolation. For those in relationships, it’s lack of space and time. For the young, the loss of adventure is stifling and for more mature people, the sudden shift of security has led to a real concern about what the future could hold. But in its place, as we’ve all gotten used to a ‘new normal’, tiny moments of change have taken root.
As life starts again, it will be so easy to get lost in the day-to-day and start to take for granted the little things our friends and loved ones do that we once appreciated so much.
Sometimes, it’s also easy to forget that what we each value is different. One of the best tools I’ve ever found for helping us appreciate the efforts of those around us, is The Five Love Languages, a book by Gary Chapman. He shares that each of us shows love in one of five ways – by doing nice things for one another, by being affectionate, by saying nice things, buying gifts and giving time – which is also how we like to receive love. It’s easy for us to appreciate the thanks for being given love the way we want it – for instance if you’re someone who likes sparkly things and a partner buys you something pretty. But it’s more valuable to realise that your partner might show you they love you by putting up shelves or paying bills. Appreciating and recognising that love and care looks different for all of us is one of the most powerful things we can do to improve our relationships.
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