Peeling Back the Layers of Appreciation

What is appreciation, really?

I recently pondered on this and realised my understanding of appreciation was quite shallow – based on either material gain, pictures of success and/or pandering to please and keep others and myself happy. Examples of things I have ‘appreciated’ from this perspective include:

  • How quickly I could type and complete a task for another
  • How tasty and visually well presented a meal was
  • How clean I kept the house
  • The financial support or material goods I received from others
  • How much money I had
  • The visual appearance of myself or another.

While the points in the above list are not necessarily things to not appreciate, I have come to feel that appreciation based solely on the tasks and material outcomes can feel ‘void’ because:

  • It can occur with no discernment of quality in which an act was received; for example, a meal may be well presented but prepared in resentment or anger.
  • In some cases, I have used this superficial form of ‘appreciation’ to avoid feeling what is going on. For example, being in an unpleasant situation but saying to myself or thinking, “Hey, I should appreciate that. At least my situation is better than another’s somewhere in the world!” Or wanting to ask someone how they are because they do not seem themselves but instead only commenting on how nice they look!

This prominent focus on end results means that when things are not going so well, it feels like there is little to nothing to appreciate in life, which could not be further from the truth (please read on below). This can be disempowering as it does not support us to honour and celebrate ourselves and others for who we truly are, or life for what it is truly offering.

What I am now recognising is that the true beauty of appreciation is marked in the qualities in which life is expressed, and reflected to us, constantly. For example:

  • The delicateness, tenderness and warmth I can feel in my hands
  • The ability to sense my eyelids closing over my eyes
  • The gentle rhythmic way a baby (and even I) can breathe
  • The understanding I can bring to a situation without judgement
  • The qualities in others that I have much to learn from.

Appreciation has also grown to embrace all niggles, tensions, conflicts, illness and un-ease that I may feel in life. Where in the past this was something to curse, or pass the buck to another through blame or anger (and sometimes I still fall for this), my awareness has now expanded to the beauty in feeling when things are not OK, and the opportunity it offers to honestly acknowledge the choices I make that contribute and the alternate choices I can make next.

The niggles and tensions also draw me out of any comfort or ‘burying my head in the sand’ behaviours that arise when there are things in life that I am not wanting to see or address. Particularly when I am unwilling to accept full responsibility for the way I live in the world and the power and potential of what I can contribute through true choices and movements.

For example, am I moving my body in a way that honours and appreciates the delicate and deeply sacred woman I am and the potential within me to reflect beauty and godliness to others? Or am I being hard and disrespectful in my movements, shutting myself down and out from others? Am I feeling myself at a cellular level, the connection I have with everything and the deep holding and support that is always there?

This is without demanding perfection, for my imperfections offer me the opportunity to feel, appreciate and connect to my qualities more deeply, surrender to support from others and let go of striving for the perfect picture of how life should look – all of which are tangibly felt, well before any doing or achieving has occurred.

Appreciation for me is now opening up to be a quality of movement that is deeply surrendered to the fact that everything is energy and that no trying, pandering or pleasing is required to truly appreciate.

By Susan Hayes, Ballarat, Australia

Related Reading:
What is a Relationship with Myself?
Appreciation in What I don’t Have
What is the Science of Appreciation and…

663 thoughts on “Peeling Back the Layers of Appreciation

  1. Appreciation is basically simple, and opens us up so that we can see the beauty in life in ourselves, as it is constantly shown to us, it only requires us to let go of the beliefs of what appreciation is.

  2. I love this focus on embracing the niggles and tensions of part of the all that there is to appreciate, instead of not wanting to feel them and trying to obliterate them. Appreciation means self honesty and deeply accepting where we’re at.

  3. Appreciation is a whole new level of respect for oneself. It is the quality that is brought to all we do that is worth appreciating and that plants a seed for the quality of life we will live as well as the quantity…if we are really honest.

  4. Appreciation sees always first the grandness of a person, before it looks what did go wrong or what behaviour wasn´t acceptable. Through seeing the glory of someone, behaving not accordingly to this glory, it supports them to connect back to who they truly are. Appreciation is a heavenly support and confirmation- judgement evil and distructive.

  5. Appreciation never comes from comparison. It is a trap, as true appreciation does not initiate from outdoing someone or being better than another. It simply acknowledges a quality, which might be not as great as another day for example, but reflecting this in a situation is already something to appreciate again.

  6. Yes appreciating our quality means there are no limits or outcomes to wait for in order to confirm ourselves it is available all of the time, regardless of what is happening around you.

  7. Susan like you my self appreciation has been quite shallow but recently I have been taking a closer look at what it means to appreciate. I have discovered that if there is a lack of appreciation then its as though we are dismissing ourselves and saying we are less. By appreciating even the smallest of things we do makes such a positive experience that this becomes the normal way to be, rather than the old way which was to dismiss and always feel not good enough.

    1. You should never forget: the moment we step off the game of feeling less and not being good enough we reflect that to other people. To what extent do we shy away from/ avoid peoples reactions, knowing when they actually meet you, they get the full reflection of your own honouring.We feel how much that confronts others ( as almost everyone dismisses themselves) – Question is, do you want to be liked or reflect the truth of how loving and appreciating oneself is purely natural.

  8. This is a strong and supportive observation “The niggles and tensions also draw me out of any comfort or ‘burying my head in the sand” we so often see annoying without looking at why they are there, to deepen our understanding of why something occurs does indeed allow us to step out of our preconceptions, patterns and indulgences.

  9. I love that the niggles keep us honest. Blogs like this encourage us to consider how much we resent or appreciate those little reminders to question if what we are doing is supporting or harming our own bodies.

  10. Appreciation is an art, a science that should be practiced constantly. But appreciation can also be misused to not advance, or to advance slower than we could. It takes honest discernment in which way we are appreciating.

  11. You are right that appreciation is about the qualities rather than the material things. Only in the last year or so I have realised that appreciation has nothing to do with thinking. It is a whole body feeling and it lets you feel more deeply something that you already are.

  12. Even when times are hard or tough we can appreciate this as an opportunity to see our unloving ways and be offered evolution back to our own divine love.

  13. Appreciation is wholesome and full and does indeed not require any props and scaffolding; appreciation teaches us about the riches of life and with ever more appreciation come ever more joy, honesty and more appreciation.

  14. When we understand appreciation as a movement it completely changes our perception of appreciation, with the realisation that it is through connecting to a true quality within us that appreciation naturally expands as we express out and not as a focus from our mind on end results or what we have achieved or materially gained.

  15. I sometimes think appreciation is the key to life – when I get stuck in thinking appallingly about myself, or when I wish things were different if I stop and become humble and appreciate everything in my life and how far i’ve already come… life suddenly feels simple again.

  16. Appreciation is a quality of movement … yes, and reading this is a great reminder that there is so much more to appreciate beyond any end results that it’s about the quality in how we are and move. And to consider it as a grander level … do we move in a way that deeply honours the sacredness we are, this takes quality and movement to a whole other level.

    1. That’s true, if we appreciate niggles and tensions are an opportunity rather than see them as a problem, life becomes an amazing challenge rather than something too big to handle.

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