Appreciation + the power of phrasing and thought


“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy 

Whenever I think of the word “appreciation,” I always remember one day at the high school during enrollment when I was working the yearbook booth (we were pre-selling the upcoming book at the time), and a woman who I didn’t know came up to me and asked me a question.  I provided her with an answer and she said, “I appreciate you so much for helping me,” and you could tell by her eyes, tone and pausing to say this that she really meant it.

This may not seem profound, but it did to me at the time and still does to this day.  How often do we say, “I appreciate it!” when someone does something to help us out, and we just say it real quick-like without giving it much thought, if any at all?  Isn’t it so much for powerful for us to say that we appreciate that person for what he/she did for us and say it in a way that shows our appreciation for him or her?  When we say, “I appreciate you,” we are saying that we appreciate their existence and their willingness/ability to help us out – whether it’s in a small way like I helped the woman at enrollment, or in a bigger way.  And when we stop to think about what we’re saying and show that we really mean it, either phrase means so much more.

So, my challenge to myself – and it is often hard to catch this – is to say to that person (and more importantly, show that person) that I appreciate them for what they did.  Just that change of a word – “it” to “you” – makes a huge difference and profoundly impacts the sincerity and level of appreciation you are giving that person.  This goes the same for the level of thought you give before saying those words.

A great example is our gift exchange at work…  We are each given $50 to spend on a coworker randomly chosen for us.  One of my coworkers, Jan, took the time to bake a dozen chocolate cupcakes because she heard (correctly, as you all know!) that I love chocolate, in addition to the $50 bill, because she probably figured (again, correctly!) that I was the best person to figure out how to spend my money.  I thought it was very touching how she went out of the her way to bake those cupcakes when she could have just done the gift exchange and called it that.  And because I so appreciated her for her gift and her true concern and kind words/thoughts about my grandpa who passed away this past Sunday, I decided to write out a thank-you card and give it to her rather than just shoot her an email like I probably normally would have done.  I did this because we get so caught up in a busy world that we sometimes forget to really thank someone for doing something nice.

Perhaps I’m just a details person and these events stick out in my mind for no particular reason.  However, I know that this phrase – “I appreciate you” – means so much more when we put thought behind it and appreciate the people themselves and not just the act they are doing, and I hope that you will find the same if you choose to change it up and really think about what you’re saying before you say it.

To close – have a great week, and I want you all to know that I genuinely appreciate all of you, my readers – even if there are only two or three of you out there!