You don’t have to look very hard these days to notice negative news around the world. It’s not just the news media or public leaders that are using harsh words toward one another. It’s also become the norm in some social media circles to pass on gossip, misinformation, and unforgiving pictures about someone they have never met, to name a few. Just because others are negative does not mean you have to be.
One of the most valuable things you can do as an individual to counter-balance the negativity is to broadcast your message with appreciation and kindness. Every day, whether speaking with a co-worker or nurturing a family member, you are transmitting a message. Do you want to spread a message of negativity or a message of appreciation?
Appreciation is a sensitive awareness and understanding of a situation or person. When you express appreciation, it signals to others you recognize their value and/or quality. What (and who) you appreciate, appreciates.
Learning to focus on and express appreciation is a central quality of a Creator—the primary role in TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic)®. Appreciation strengthens your relationship with others and helps build their confidence—and acknowledges them as co-Creators. This is done by helping other people recognize their contribution… even when they are being negative or demeaning toward themselves or others.
You never know what is really going on in the minds and hearts of other people. The Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) can easily be active inside a person, while outwardly they seem calm and cool. Inside they may be shrinking from self-criticism and doubt. Deep and detailed appreciation, when genuine, helps others see their strength when they may not.
We want to offer “3 levels of Appreciation.” This is a way for Creators to purposefully and skillfully develop the practice of deep appreciation of others:
- Simply say “thank you.” By saying “thank you,” it expresses appreciation to the other for what they did for you. While walking in the neighborhood recently, a young boy was biking on the sidewalk. We moved aside to allow him to pass and he looked directly at us and politely said, “thank you.” We felt appreciated by this youngster for our small gesture of moving aside.
- Gratitude + details. The second level of appreciation includes “thank you” and then goes one step further. When appropriate, go into more detail about what you noticed about the other person and situation. A manager thanking an employee for their quality of work—and what they specifically appreciate—can be quite motivating.
- Gratitude + details + emotion. The deepest level of appreciation is when we let others know how we feel. Finally, in the third level, you go even deeper and include emotions and the impact the person’s actions had on you and others. The manager could add to their statement of appreciation by saying, “Thank you for your report and the attention to detail. It excites me to see your growth and the report reflects well on the whole team.”
Level 2 and, especially, level 3 appreciation conveys to others, “I see and value you.”
Reflect upon a time when you were appreciated in this way—maybe by a spouse, boss, parent, teacher, or friend. It simply makes our hearts soar to feel this level of appreciation. The other day, Donna expressed deep appreciation to a colleague for the support they had provided. They “lit up” and opened up to further possibilities.
Every day you have the power to positively influence the world by expressing appreciation to others.