Appreciation. It’s a funny one isn’t it? It’s drilled into you from a young age by your parents-when you receive anything from any adult and fail to thank them in time the automatic hiss from a nearby parent is ‘say thank you!’. My nephew asked me plaintively the other day why he has to say thank you ‘the whole time’. ‘Because it’s important to show people you appreciate them’, I replied patiently. Textbook response, I thought to myself afterwards. Does he really know what appreciation means? Probably not, because he’s 5.
But, do I?
At the grand old age of 24, I’m learning more and more (ooh a rhyme!) that appreciation isn’t just automatically saying thank you. It’s an extended form of gratitude-truly, deeply, thinking about what that person has just done for you. Moreover, it’s not expecting more. As I detailed in ‘Let It Trickle’, it’s easy to just focus on what you don’t have or need more of instead of acknowledging all the good already there. Hell, I know I consider myself a well brought up, polite individual with impeccable manners, professing thanks to all, but you know what? It means shit if I don’t truly appreciate things. On that note, I had a conversation with a friend the other day, who was ranting to me about a guy she is dating who constantly wants more of her time, without seeming to appreciate the time they do spend together. She repeatedly tells him that she can only spend proper time with him on the weekends and a short amount during the working week but he ignores this and continues to beg her to stay longer when they do meet up. This leaves her with a bad feeling and a sense of frustration that the time she did give him was not appreciated and neither were her boundaries. I was initially shocked at what she was telling me but then realised I am in no position to do so. Because I am that guy, and perhaps many more of us are too, without realising.
For example, I absolutely love spending time with my boyfriend, but living forty minutes away from each other (and with our parents!) means this is sometimes difficult. Am I thankful when we do meet up? Automatically I would say yes. Honestly I would say not truly, because I’m not truly grateful. For the past few months, I have always left afterwards wishing for more and wanting next time to come around already. Like that guy my friend is dating, I’ve pushed boundaries many times, trying to persuade my boyfriend into spending longer together in the evening during the working week, when deep down I know this isn’t the right thing. Talking to this friend made me realise that just like her, my boyfriend must get so frustrated knowing that the time he gives me is constantly underappreciated and probably leaves with a similar bad feeling. Indeed, I am now painfully aware that I spend so much time complaining about our limited time together that I constantly forget to live in that moment and truly, deeply appreciate it. And that’s a real crying shame. Each moment with the one I love should be precious and cherished and spent having the best and happiest time possible.
I could ramble on forever but this post is already quite long, so i will stop right here and leave you with a little insightful line I just made up (don’t judge but I’m secretly hoping it will end up on Wise Quotes).
Appreciation is more than an automatic response, it’s a state of mind.
Until next time!!