The dictionary defines appreciation as the recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things. When was the last time you felt truly appreciated at work or at home? When was the last time you genuinely showed your appreciation for others? Is showing appreciation really that important?
One of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Dr. William James, spent his professional life studying human behavior. He wanted to know what made people tick, and he wanted to know what brought out their best. He wrote a number of books on these subjects.
Near the end of his life, he was in hospital and received a plant from a friend. Dr. James wrote a note of thanks for the plant. As he wrote the note, he said that it suddenly dawned on him that the “deepest craving in human nature was the craving to be appreciated.” It seemed so obvious but he had overlooked it in his research.
He believed that the craving to feel appreciated is never satisfied. If you have people feel appreciated, he said, you will have power—not power over them but power with them.
When you have people feel genuinely appreciated, you stand out from the crowd because most people don’t bother to do it. Even though people might know they’ve done a good job, and even though they might know they’re appreciated, it is so necessary to hear it and even read it.
Sending a handwritten note of appreciation can be very powerful. Written notes take a bit more effort than simply saying something verbally, and they are sometimes kept and reread for years.
Tip: Show appreciation to others regularly. Get in the habit of writing a note of thanks to those who you feel need to be recognized. Even a simple “thanks for being in my life” will totally change someone’s day for the better.
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