Friday, June 22, 2012

The Art of Love and Appreciation

If there is one thing that all human beings have in common, it is the overwhelming need to feel loved and appreciated. But how many of us do? How many of us go through life looking for someone to really love and appreciate us just as we are?  How many of us go through life wanting our very existence acknowledged? I believe this is engrained in each and every one of us since birth.


Personally, I believe that before we came to this earthly existence, our souls knew what it was like to feel loved and appreciated. Unconditionally.  A love and appreciation so pure and magnificent that we spend our whole lives on earth searching for that very feeling of love and appreciation. The problem is, as human beings, we always somehow fall short. We have a faint remembrance of that feeling, and we search for it in our earthly embodiments, but it seems like we’re always reaching for the brass ring. No matter how close we get to grabbing it, we always miss it. In fact, that’s exactly what we do. We miss it. We miss that feeling. Therefore, we are always in search to have that feeling once again.


So, how can we help each other to experience these glorious and wonderful feelings of love and appreciation?  The Golden Rule states “Do unto others as you would have them do until you.”  When you do for others, you do for yourself.  This rule is stated in some form in most all religions and their Bibles:  Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism are only a few.


There really is an art to love and appreciation, and it’s actually quite simple. Tell people you love and appreciate them. Tell them that because they are in your life, your life is so much better, that they bless you for just being here. When was the last time you had anyone tell you such wonderful words of bliss? When was the last time you told anyone these words of poetry that made their heart sing?


Why is it that three of the shortest words in the English language are also three of the most difficult for human beings to utter?   Those words are “I love you.”  How often do you say these words to the people you know and love?  You may think they know you love them so you don’t have to say it, but they need to hear it. Just knowing isn’t enough.


How often do we as children go through our whole lives waiting for our parents to tell us they love us and that they are proud of us? Some people go their whole lives waiting to hear these words, even after the death of those very parents. 


When we speak to others, do we speak to build them up or to tear them down? Do we speak words of love and kindness, or do we cut them down with words of anger, hate, and just plain old meanness? When someone is unkind to others with their words, it is not a reflection on the person who is being spoken to, but it reflects on the person speaking the words.


Another way to make people feel appreciated is to say the words “please” and “thank you.” You’d be surprised how far saying these words can take you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, child, relative, boss, or friend. Common courtesy goes a long way. I remember when I was doing the interviewing at one of the companies I worked for, I don’t know how many times someone said that they would take a “thank you” or “job well done” over a raise! Bosses, if you want good employees, make sure they know you appreciate them. Parents, you want kids to appreciate you? Appreciate them.  And on it goes.


You may not get a response when practicing the art of love and appreciation.  Too many people don’t know how to say these words, so don’t take it personally.  They may not have been taught.  Many fear the words won’t be reciprocated so they don’t say them.  But you can’t say them expecting something in return.  Don’t think of these words as a common courtesy; think of them as gifts.  Give them freely from your heart.  Know that because you said them you may have brightened someone’s day.  And you never know that when you say them to someone, they may even change someone’s life.


Life is short and you don’t know how long your loved ones will be here to say those words to.  Don’t wait.  Say them now before it is too late.


And to those who read my column (and to those who don’t):  I love you and appreciate you. 

(Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen June 22, 2012.)

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