March 17, 2014

When Appreciation Isn't Appreciated

As the world heads more and into cyberspace, face to face interaction is beginning to take a backseat to tweets, texts, emails, and the like.  How then do we maintain our relationships without the human touch that was such an important part  of it in days gone by?

Appreciation is one key factor in creating and maintaining nurturing, long lasting relationships. When we recognize the contributions of around us, it creates mutual respect that develops strong bonds.  We also benefit from the appreciation we receive as well.  It’s validating and rewarding to know our efforts have been noticed and have made a difference.

There is risk involved in "appreciating" people however.  That risk is doing it in an in-genuine way. 

In-genuine praise is using the carrot and making it feel more like the stick.  People can tell when the praise they receive is sincere and when it's being done with other intentions.  Having been on the receiving end of insincere praise, I can tell you it makes me feel more like I need a shower than validated.

Insincere praise is actually a form of manipulation.  Praise given to inspire someone to do more for us for instance, is an example of manipulative praise.  

 It has nothing to do with validating the other person.  It has to do with stroking people in order to improve our own situation.  Any praise given toward a self serving end, will always come back to bite the giver. Insincerity of all types, breeds suspicion, lack of trust, and bitterness.

 It feels like being given a caramel dipped onion in place of the apple and leaves about the same taste in your mouth.

In my opinion, insincere praise is worse than no praise at all because it feels like a condescending pat on the head and assumes the stupidity of the receiver not to know the difference. 

It’s going to be increasingly more important to take time for small things like genuine appreciation, validation, and even carving out some actual “face time” (not the kind with two screens involved) to maintain quality relationships, but I think it’s time well spent.

 When all is said and done, your cellphone, tablet, and computer will not be there to comfort you through life’s biggest challenges. (they can however distract you from them) Your friends and love ones, considering you’ve made time for them, will be.


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