This Week Is About Expressing Appreciations
- Each day this week identify a person you want to appreciate (it can be the same person every day or a new person each day).
- Write down one thing you appreciate about this person.
- Immediately following, write down one thing you appreciate about you.
Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.
Why Is This Practice Important?
It’s far easier to think negative thoughts about people than positive ones. Negative thoughts are safer. When these thoughts are about others, we get to place ourselves higher on the totem pole. And when these negative thoughts are about ourselves, then we don’t expose ourselves to disappointment.
Negative thoughts never disappoint because when we live up to them (or down to them), at least we get to be right.
Conversely, expressing our appreciations can feel like a tricky path. When we acknowledge what feels good about others, we risk feeling embarrassed, disappointed, rejected, or hurt. And when we acknowledge ourselves? Well, many people believe it’s egotistical to say anything good about themselves. And if complimented, they’ll bring up all the times they weren’t that or compare themselves to someone who is more that and convince themselves it’s just not true.
But true appreciation isn’t ever about true or false. It’s about acknowledging the things about you and others that you want to see more of in yourself, them, and the world. More than just positive thinking, our appreciations are grounded in the things you see, feel, experience, and know about yourself and others.
The more you tell your brain you see these positive things, the more your brain will get accustomed to noticing them. And the more you notice and appreciate, the more you begin to experience your thoughts as kinder, yourself as more accepting, and your life as being full of things to be grateful for.
P.S. To learn more about how we’re wired to judge others (and ourselves), listen to Andy’s discussion with professional life coach Carolyn Freyer-Jones on episode 81 of the Whole Life Podcast.