If you read my book, or even if you have been visiting this blog for a while, you might know that I consider appreciation separate from gratitude. Both practices are of course related, but as far as building otheresteem goes, you will do well to distinguish them and act on both! You see, appreciation is about the other. It is about what you can see and value when you allow yourself to take a closer look, to move beyond what bothers you in others into what you can appreciate about who they are, what they do, how they relate, what they bring out in you and others. As expressed in Chapter 1, we can find meaning to appreciation by practicing it with anyone.
It means I can see things I value in you. I can look into who you are and like what I see, even though I may not share that view or that way of living with you. I move past my generalization of you into the realm of what is your highest self. Even if you are my enemy, there are always things in you that I recognize, even admire.
But gratitude is a more all-encompassing practice. It is about how you feel in the presence of others. If you can step into gratitude, you can feel yourself being in a different state. To build otheresteem from inside yourself, it helps to feel grateful for the relationship you hold with other people. It doesn’t really matter if those relationships are wonderful at the time, or if they are challenging, not turning out the way you would like. It is still your choice to experience gratitude in their presence. Because, of course, it can change what you bring into the relationship. But also because of gratitude’s depth and power to transform what is. I invite you to find ways to be grateful for the people around you. The ones near and far. The ones you enjoy and the ones you have done battle with.
Gratitude begets gratitude. Time and time again. It brings it all full circle. If I am thankful for being in your presence, for learning from you, for walking our shared path, it is no small feat to tell you so. Gratitude expressed becomes a bond that holds me accountable to that person.
So, don’t be an ingrate! Learn to feel gratitude, to experience it and to share it with the people around you. It will enhance your ability for otheresteem and bring you closer to touching who you can truly become.