I have been practicing the art of appreciations for awhile now and have come to appreciate the juicy connections that come as a result of thoughtful appreciations for people and experiences and things. I love appreciating. It brings delight to me to watch as a particularly spot-on appreciation lands with someone. I love to watch them light up at being seen.
This morning, while listening to The Super Fantastic Leadership show, a podcast with Daphne Scott and Katie Hendricks, I had a whole new wave of understanding about the power of appreciation. These two start each and every podcast with appreciations. They’ve appreciated people (those are delightfully fun for me when they’re appreciating people I know!). Daphne, in particular, does appreciations for inanimate things, like her legs, (though hmmm, those aren’t inanimate, they just aren’t her whole person), technology, etc. And I’ve loved the easy, settled feeling I get in my body when listening to them lead with appreciation.
What occurred to me this morning is that there is no guarantee that the people that they are appreciating will ever hear the appreciations. Many do, I’m sure (I know that I reach out to my friends who’ve gotten appreciations to point them to ‘their’ episode) and there’s no guarantee. The story that I’m making up in the moment is that it doesn’t matter to Katie and Daphne. They appreciate because they appreciate. It’s not to get a response or to see how it lands, etc.
And what feels different in me as I try on appreciating simply because I appreciate is that I’m not waiting. I’m not checking to see if it ‘landed’. Meaning, did they fully receive the beautiful appreciation I just gave them. (Can you hear the subtle ‘hero’ in that?) While that is wonderful, and I don’t want to make light of that aspect of it, it’s not necessary. The act of appreciating is whole in and of itself, regardless of whether it’s received.
The state of gratitude that is generated as a practice of appreciation is the gift. That’s my gift to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to watch appreciations be received whether I’m the giver or someone else. I love to be ‘in the field’ of appreciation. I know some masterful appreciators and am learning from them everyday. I’m pretty good myself! And there’s a whole ‘nother level that arrives when the appreciator and the appreciated are in the same place at the same time and it becomes a feedback loop.
And, I’m still marveling at the idea that it doesn’t matter if the appreciation is received. If I’m appreciating to ‘see how it lands’, then I’m not in my own business. If a genuine appreciation arises and I deliver it and I’m doing so because I’m reporting about something that’s happening for me, I can feel in my body the difference. If I then jump over to the other person, then I’ve left my experience, my delicious flow of appreciation and gratitude. It becomes a little mini ulp (upper limit problem).
Whoa! That’s a cool awareness! If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m writing from discovery right now. I love the awareness that if I’m looking to see if things landed because I am vested in that information, then I am automatically creating a tiny ulp. A tiny way for me to lessen the juice that I know comes as a result of appreciation.
I had the thought as I was listening to the podcast this morning, “wow, they have no idea if those appreciations ever get received” and I was off and running, feeling how different that perspective is. And really getting that I have, often, been ‘waiting’ to see how things land. There’s an aspect of ‘did I get it right? Did I use the right words to explain how I see them?’
And there’s nothing wrong with that either. I can appreciate how I use that looking and seeing to hone the potency of appreciating. Right now I’m feeling into the difference between looking to see how a thing landed because it’s information, versus because I’m vested in it ‘landing properly.’
I’m having a fun little tilt-a-whirl ride over here in my body, a feeling of lightness and untetheredness as I explore the idea that it’s none of my business if an appreciation lands. I can want that, and it’s not in my folder of things I can control.
Wheeeeee! I am deeply feeling into how expressing appreciation for anything is ultimately for me. I can do it for me. There are many gifts to receive. I often receive connection, and a squiggly burst of joy as an appreciation wiggles up through my body and out of my mouth.
Right now I’m appreciating my husband, who on a regular basis, when he sees some fun thing outside that he thinks I might like to photograph will stop what he’s doing and come get me to show me, saying, “bring your phone!”. I’m appreciating my curiosity around intriguing thoughts like ‘wow, there’s no guarantee. . .’ And my sweet dog who is curled up next to me. Waves of all the things I appreciate in this moment are rolling in, one after the other! One of the things that I love about appreciation is that when the first one pops in, there are lots more behind it. And I don’t have to wait for an appreciation to ‘pop’ in. I can open a space to see what I am genuinely appreciating right now, then it feels like I pop the cork!
What are you appreciating right now? In this moment as you’re reading these words. What are you appreciating? I’d love to hear, because appreciation begets appreciation and gratitude and joy. And I am all for more Joy!