We all need a little more appreciation

Why is it so hard for us to show others genuine appreciation? It could just me.
A few years ago I decided I was going to show appreciation to someone every day in December, like an appreciation advent calendar. I knew it would be a challenge, but I didn’t know it was going to be as hard as it was and in the end, I gave up.
In coaching I show my clients appreciation all the time. I love seeing how their whole face lights up with this enormous smile even if it’s been a hard session. And yet outside of that I find it hard and I’m not entirely sure why.
In Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment every session ends with all parties offering genuine acknowledgement of each other’s qualities. She believes, and has now been backed up by science, that we should give 5x more appreciation than criticism to ensure that the best environment is created for thinking. And she has come to see that each of the 10 components of the thinking environment are actually demonstrations of appreciation for the thinker.
This week I’ve been appreciated for how I write these letters. Someone told me that when they read them they can hear my voice and they look forward to it. I felt amazing, all warm and glowy, confident and intelligent and when you feel like that you can’t help but think more creatively.
I see this with my clients as well, when they get stuck I appreciate them for their tenacity, care, thoughtfulness, a quality that I can see in them in that moment and then like magically they seem to get unstuck.
But back to why it’s so hard for me to show people appreciation outside of a coaching session. Is it fear of being brushed off, of making them feel embarrassed, of looking silly? Probably all of those things. Most of us seem to be conditioned not to accept nice things said about us and we often down play them so we don’t risk looking big headed.
If you got a gift from someone, even if it was something that you didn’t like, you’d still say thank-you in a grateful way. So think of genuine compliments as gifts and say thank-you when you get them and nothing else. To do anything else is plain rude and puts people off from giving appreciation to others.
I’ve been reflecting on how I can show more appreciation for people who aren’t my clients. At first I had a great idea of writing this post for the last Sunday in November so I could challenge myself to yet another appreciation advent calendar. But then in bed the other night I wondered why I seem to want to wait until Christmas to appreciate someone. Couldn’t I be doing this all throughout the year?
And then re-reading what Nancy has to say about appreciation and that all of the 10 components are acts of appreciation got me thinking. Perhaps what I could do is consciously bring these elements into my everyday conversations.
So this month I’m going to experiment with that and also with sending people a text when I think of them so they know they are on someones mind.
I’d love to know your thoughts on appreciation, drop me a line and tell me.
My thinking for this letter has been influenced by Nancy Kline’s books Time to Think and More Time to Think. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to you and I only use affiliate links of products that I use myself.

The Ten Components of The Thinking Environment

Attention
Listening with palpable respect and genuine interest, and without interruption

Equality
Treating each other as thinking peers; giving equal turns and attention; keeping boundaries and agreements

Ease
Offering freedom from internal rush or urgency

Encouragement
Giving courage to go to the cutting edge of ideas by moving beyond internal competition

Incisive Questions™
Removing untrue assumptions that limit our ability to think for ourselves well

Feelings
Allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking

Appreciation
Offering genuine acknowledgement of a person’s qualities; practicing a ratio of 5:1 appreciation to challenge

Information
Supplying the facts; recognising social context; dismantling denial

Difference
Welcoming diverse group identities and diversity of thinking

Place
Creating a physical environment that says back to people, ‘You matter’

The Ten Components of The Thinking Environment are the copyright of Nancy Kline of Time to Think
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