Did you know that today, January 31st, marks The Appreciation Factor’s 4th Anniversary? Hard to believe that I reached this goal – sometimes harder to believe that I’ve published over 70 posts on the subject. While passionate about appreciation, ensuring fresh content and keeping you my followers interested and more importantly providing content that may make you pause and think about something in a new way, that pursuit can sometimes be challenging.
I recently started a new job which took me away from the blog, and I’m sorry if I’ve seemed MIA. Still you were never far from my mind as I would think – “OH I need write a post!” The next thought, “What should I write about?” It was a struggle this past month for sure.
No less passionate, about appreciation, I wondered, what could I write about and of course today, in the wee hours of the am, it came to me – how appreciation can fit into your life… or Appreciation, what’s in it for me?
Taking a minute
We can all go through life, just steaming ahead, caught up in our own lives, the challenges, tribulations and sorrows, without stopping to pause and think about others, or in some cases appreciate all of the positive things in our own lives. We can also seemingly forgo appreciation and gratitude when things seem bleakest and we don’t see or value the things that are good, or that we do have if we only would put a microscopic view on things. I know this has happened to me from time to time, especially when the other side of my life, my professional one, was not progressing at quite the speed, nor on the path I thought it should be. (Note the “should be” part.)
Not to get too philosophical, but I’m not sure that there is a set path for us. I think lives that take twisty turns and sharp corners may be the better life to live, well in the long run – but I digress.
I think that if we do stop and pause to think about what we have and express not only our gratitude for what we have, but are also appreciative (See the interesting distinction I found below) of what we have, we may actually create more happiness, luck, and for sure more positivity in our lives. (No, positivity isn’t really a word, but you know what I mean.)
I’ve always seen gratitude and appreciation as siblings. At times for me, interchangeable, but in working on this post, I came across this interesting distinction from beliefnet.com
“One distinction…is that gratitude is the base from which appreciation grows and flourishes…if we’re paying attention. That is, we can be grateful for something in our lives without really appreciating it.
For example, we can be grateful for having food on our table. However we can go further and appreciate its beauty, fragrance, taste, nutrition, and preparation.”
It’s an interesting definition don’t you think?
There is really is something to being grateful and appreciating what we have, and for those around us and what they bring to our lives. When done sincerely, I think this act can be a powerful magnet that attracts more good things. And, it can make you and those with whom you share your appreciation, feel pretty good too.
How am I going to apply this in 2016
Near the end of 2015, there were definitely a few times when I was getting a little lost in my sincere appreciation. Things seemed their bleakest and I was becoming challenged by the “what’s my next step?”, “How am I going to make it through this?”, and if I’m honest, at times, “What do I have to feel appreciative about?”
I hope not to get to that point again, especially since I was blessed with the aforementioned opportunity literally three days before the year expired. Sometimes you just have to hold on a bit longer.
So in 2016 I’m going to set forth some goals to keep me on track. Maybe you’ll be inspired.
While I know I’d like to write something that I’m grateful for each day, this mere act may become a bit overwhelming and start to feel like a chore – the LAST thing I want to have happen. Here they are… (Yeah, there are 4. It’s one more than the traditional three, and one less than five, but if you know me, I’ve never been all that conventional):
- Each week, write down something that I’m grateful AND appreciative of having in my life. It’s kind of exciting to see what that list will look like at the end of the year, not to mention at the end of the each month!
- Share my appreciation of someone and their involvement in my life each week. Hopefully this is through a Thank you note or pop-up card.
- Do 2-3 Random Acts of Kindness each month. This may seem small amount, but I know it’s achievable. Plus I anticipate that even doing one or two of these will inspire me to do more #ROAKs.
- Volunteer. Nothing can take you out of a being stuck in your own head like helping someone else. You often gain a quick appreciation for all that you have, and it always feels good to help someone who really needs assistance. Plus I’m really excited about one organization that I started helping in November, Lovin’ Spoonfuls.