Unless you’re a total Law of Attraction newbie, you’ll have almost certainly heard a little something about the importance of Gratitude and Appreciation by now. When we appreciate something, we raise our vibration. And when we raise our vibration, we align ourselves with EVERYTHING we want (not just the thing we’re appreciating). It’s just that simple. Today, I’d like to explore how we can take the concept of appreciation a bit further and then challenge you to actually freaking do it. Because this here’s not some passive blog, people. If you want to change your life, you actually have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and get dirty. But don’t you worry; this will be fun and will make you feel better than you have in a long time.
Why is appreciation so good for us?
Why does saying “Thank You” raise our vibration? Well, when we appreciate something, we are focusing on all the aspects of it that feel good to us. We look for what we like about it, how it benefits us, how it uplifts us. Appreciation is actually a bit of a selfish maneuver (the good kind of selfish). Whenever we appreciate, we’re looking at something in a way that causes us to reflect more positively on ourselves and our own lives. It is an intensely personal experience. We think we’re focusing on something or someone else, but what we’re really doing finding a better feeling perspective on our own lives. Whenever we appreciate, we learn to love ourselves and our world a little more. Yeah, this is powerful stuff right here.
Perspectives are infectious
In my video on Gratitude vs. Appreciation, I split hairs a bit and argued that while both emotions are great, appreciating something is actually better for you than being grateful, since being grateful often implies that you’re somehow less powerful than the person or entity that you’re receiving from. It has a kind of a “Thank you sir, may I have another?” feel to it. Just to be clear, I’m quoting the musical Oliver here. If your mind went someplace else, that’s on you. Of course, now my mind went there too, but only because I was anticipating your dirty, dirty brain. And I’m well aware that by writing about it here, I’ve infected everyone who wouldn’t have taken this to the old slap and tickle territory, with Not Safe For Work thoughts. Do you see what you’ve done? This is all your fault, really. But that leads me to my real point: Just as I was able to infect your brain with dirty thoughts by merely insinuating that the quote I used could be seen in a dirty way (don’t even try to deny it. You went there), so can any other idea spread to others around us. Perspectives and the emotional response they invoke are infectious. But, while spreading the dirty mind virus to all who meet me sounds like fun, I had something else in mind today:
Who amongst us hasn’t, at one time or another, felt totally underappreciated, ignored and taken for granted? Which one of us could honestly argue that we get all the thanks we think we deserve? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Yeah, I thought not. But what if there was an appreciation virus we could infect others with, which would cause them to be more thankful and which would spread to everyone they met, and then to others whom those people met and so forth? Well, it turns out that we can and it’s a hell of a lot more fun than spreading the stomach flu. Also, there’s less explosive diarrhea.
Here’s how you manufacture the virus:
Step 1: Appreciate something
Yeah, I know, you were probably expecting this and right about now, I can feel you rolling your eyes at me. Of course a post about appreciation is going to tell you to appreciate. Duh. Only, I’ve got some news for you: If you were even slightly disappointed that I included being more thankful in these instructions, because you’ve tried it and it didn’t work and you want more advanced techniques, dammit!, then you’re doing it wrong. Appreciation, when done right, feels awesome. And it works – not only do you feel better pretty much instantly, but your reality will begin to become a lot more fun and positive. If that hasn’t happened for you in the past, it’s not because appreciation doesn’t work, it’s because your methodology was flawed. Probably because the instructions you received sucked. Definitely not because you were too busy rolling your eyes instead of focusing. Nah, it totally wasn’t that.
Let’s get back to it, only this time, we’re paying attention – Step 1: Appreciate something
Notice, I’m not being specific. You don’t have to take the thing you’re having the hardest time feeling good about and find a way to like it. This is what most people do when they do a gratitude exercise and it generally goes horribly, accidentally fed the Gremlins after midnight wrong. Choose something in your life that’s easy to appreciate. If you hate your job, don’t start with that. What’s your favorite sports team? Which actor do you think is hot? Who’s your favorite LOA blogger? It doesn’t matter what subject or person you choose, as long as you already feel good about it/them.
Step 2: Go deeper
Now that you’ve chosen a topic which you already appreciate, don’t just think about how much you like them. Think about why. Get a piece of paper and write down 10 things you truly appreciate about your subject. So, if you love a sports team, figure out why. This is where it gets a little tricky. Most people stay on the surface and never really reach the feeling of true appreciation. Follow this important tip to do it properly:
Remember how I explained that appreciation is an ultimately selfish and deeply personal concept? Well, it is and this is how that can help you: when making your list of aspects which you appreciate (why you like it so much), make sure that you are listing ways in which your chosen topic affects you, personally.
For example, “I appreciate [insert favorite sports team] because they are awesome”, isn’t going to get you very far. How does their awesomeness affect you? How does them being awesome change your life and your experience in any way? You have to go deeper. Make it more personal. Dig into the emotions.
“I love Barca (the Barcelona football/soccer team, whom I genuinely appreciate) because they give me and my friends an opportunity to get together in an atmosphere of camaraderie and celebration. I love them because they have heart and passion. When I see the players’ obvious joy and passion for what they do, it inspires me to go for it in my own life. Watching them play uplifts me and makes me happy. I don’t even care if they win or lose (although I love it when they win). It’s really more about the experience of the game for me. I love how when the team scores a goal, the entire bar rises to their feet in a cheer of celebration. I love the feeling of unity that comes over everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all enjoying this game together.
“You know, that brings up memories of an England/Portugal game I was at a few years ago. Everyone ‘knows’ that the English football fans are the worst. They drink too much, get riled up easily and don’t mind throwing a punch or twenty. The pub was packed wall to wall with lads from the UK, as well as a large number of Portuguese and Brazilian fans, proudly waving their flags. What transpired next was amazing. Portugal beat England. The Portuguese side went wild. Their joy was so immense that you couldn’t stay in your seat while watching them (not that we had seats). There was a moment of tension, as everyone waited to see what the hooligans from the North would do. They grabbed their pints, moved towards the cheering Portuguese, who in many cases were so much smaller than their English counterparts that they looked like children in comparison, and… congratulated them. There was much slapping of backs and hugging and good natured ribbing. Seeing such a stereotype being proven completely wrong, and watching these “rivals” embracing each other, smiling and laughing together and just appreciating the fact that it had been a spectacular game, warmed my heart. It’s one of my favorite memories. Godammit, I love football.”
Do you see what happened there? I personalized it. I dug down into the WHY. Why do I love football or the team? What is it about them and watching them play that makes me – personally – feel good? As soon as I connected with these positive feelings, a memory that matched their frequency (felt just like that) came up, allowing me to revisit and therefore re-experience a wonderful moment from my life. But, even though I was dealing with a memory, the feelings that generated were happening NOW. By the end of the experience, I was in deep appreciation for not just Barca, but all things football, in general. As I focused on true appreciation, it spread, it got bigger, it infected my own brain. And boy was it fun.
One more thing: If you find that you can’t generate any really positive feelings when you dig deeper, don’t panic. You’ve simply chosen a subject that you thought would be easy to appreciate, but which isn’t. You don’t feel as good about this thing as you thought you did. Just choose another topic, and remember: go for the obvious. If you love your mom, use her, even if it’s cliché.
Step 3: Express appreciation
If you didn’t take it any further at this point, you’d still have raised your vibration and be aligning yourself with loads of good stuff. But, if I know my audience (and I do. Y’all are ambitious little suckers), you’re going to want to take it even further. This is where you’re going to need to leave your comfort zone just a bit. Choose a person as your object of appreciation. Figure out what’s awesome about them and how that awesomeness has affected you, personally. Then, choose one or two of those items and *gasp*, go to them and share that information with them. That’s right, go to them, tell them how much you appreciate them and why.
Now again, don’t start with the hardest person you can think of. If you and your hubby are fighting, don’t make him your first target. Save that for when you’ve got a bit of practice under your belt. How about starting with the nice lady at the supermarket who’s always so friendly? Why not share with her how her smile always manages to uplift you, how much you look forward to your little exchange every week and how much that means to you? It’s really not that hard to have that conversation and no, she won’t think you’re a nut job. How many people do you think she smiles at every day? How many of them do you think benefit from that smile? And how often do you think that anyone ever actually tells her that? She may not be acting that nice so that she can be thanked, but I guarantee you that you’ll make her day. She won’t think you’re crazy. She’ll think you’re an angel.
When you express true appreciation, several things happen: First, you have to get clarity about what you appreciate. Second, you have to actually connect with the feeling of appreciation, changing your own energy for the better. Third, by expressing that appreciation, you focus on it even more. You amp up your own appreciation vibe, benefiting yourself even more. And, last but not least, you give someone else the opportunity to be infected with the appreciation virus, allowing it to spread further and further. It’s a true win-win.
Step 4: Rinse and Repeat
Don’t just look for big opportunities to appreciate. This isn’t about fixing relationships and manifesting stuff (although it will totally make that shit happen). This is about you feeling good and spreading the joy. It’s about living in a state of grace, being in the NOW, and finding your way back to Who You Really Are. Look for opportunities to appreciate AND express that appreciation. If the emotions you’re expressing are authentic and genuine, if you’re not doing it so you can get something back but simply because it feels good, you will never come off as cheesy or insincere. You will not only spread more joy than you can imagine, but you’ll have incredible experiences.
The first time you make someone cry tears of joy with a few simple words, you’ll begin to realize just how powerful you are. When you say, “I see you. I appreciate you”, you are giving someone an incredible gift. Gifts given in this manner benefit both the receiver and the giver (like a hug. You can’t give one without getting one back), so at the very same time, you are opening up the floodgates of wonderful feeling energy. When you make someone’s day, you often make your own as well.
So, here’s your challenge: Go out and express genuine, authentic appreciation to someone today. It can be a simple compliment to a stranger (“I LOVE your shoes!”), a heart-felt thank you to a store clerk or colleague (“Thank you for being so friendly. I’ve been having a really bad day and you just made me feel 1000% better”), or telling your guy why you adore him (“I love how your smile just makes me light up when I see it. I love how protective you are, it makes me feel really safe and taken care of. I love how smart and witty you are and how you challenge me.”). It doesn’t matter whom you pick, as long as you work your way into true appreciation before you share it.
One word of caution: Most people have never had anyone express their appreciation so openly before. There may well be tears. Be ok with that. Remember that tears are simply a sign of a release of resistance. If you make someone cry with your appreciation, you are witnessing their rather massive shift to a better feeling vibration. That’s not something to be uncomfortable about, it’s something to be proud of.
Also, this is going to feel really weird at first. I get that. Keep at it and you’ll find that you’ll get a lot more comfortable after just a short amount of time. As long as you stay authentic with your compliments, joy, passion and appreciation, this exercise will never lead to a negative outcome. In fact, do this regularly, and your life will quickly morph into something better than you could even imagine.
I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. So why not share your joy and infect us all with it?