Why is it so hard to accept appreciation?

Every gym has it. The group of young men – they do more standing and talking than lifting. I do not judge them – I do my thing and they do their thing. But I have no desire to interact with them. Earlier this week, I was drawn into a conversation of form and technique. I might have upset them. Alright, I probably DID upset them. But I impressed myself with how eloquently I expressed myself – and the clarity with which I offered guidance and direction.

While my feedback was not exactly accepted with open arms – you can never expect telling a man to lower his weights to be accepted – I walked away from this situation feeling incredibly confident in my knowledge and abilities. This scenario is one of many that reinforces that I am pursuing my purpose.

I also walked away from this situation feeling great gratitude…

Eucharisto

Eucharisto, the Greek word meaning “to give thanks.” In recent years, I have given great focus to expressing my love and gratitude. I have given focus to eucharisto. I left this gym encounter with a strong desire on my heart for eucharisto. I owe a great deal to my friend and mentor – he inspired and encouraged me. He empowered and taught. He was a major influence in my decisions to do what was needed to become who I am today.

I left the gym and called him immediately – intending to leave a message because he never answers his phone. He answered. Intending to keep my call short and sweet I said, ” I just want to thank you for helping me to be smart.” He refused to accept my gratitude – defending that I am smart on my own, with the passion, desire, ambition, and intellect to learn and apply what I needed to in order to do my job and do it well.

Suddenly, the wheels were turned, and it was my turn to empower him, my mentor. I gave him a speech. The short of it being that yes, I may have the natural born intellect and drive, but he empowered and he taught. Most importantly, he believed in me. He listened. He replied, “Thank you for listening to me when I spoke and for making the effort to learn.” (Notice, he still did not accept my gratitude.)

I closed with another giving of thanks, informing him that whether he accepted it or not, he had a significant influence on who I am today. For this I will be FOREVER grateful.

Accepting eucharisto

Why do we have such difficulty accepting eucharisto, thanks, gratitude? I know that I struggle with this acceptance. When clients thank me (for doing my job) I often deflect, “Thank yourself, you put the work in.”

As a culture, we are disturbingly hard on ourselves. We rarely accept positive thoughts, compliments, or appreciation. This is a cultural disaster! Years ago I learned how to accept a compliment with a “thank you” in response. Unfortunately, this became an automatic response and I never learned to believe the compliments that were given to me!

Step one – Be aware

Like any attempt at change, the first step to accepting appreciation is awareness. We need to be aware of when others are expressing gratitude or appreciation. We need to learn to be aware of eucharisto.

Do you think that this step is too simple and perhaps silly?

Can you tell me the last time someone expressed gratitude do you?

Or the last time that you expressed gratitude towards someone else?

We often let appreciative comments and interactions go in one ear and out the other. We do not cherish them. Do we hear them? Do we let them sink into our hearts?

Are you aware?

Step two – Believe

Just as simple as step one, step to is to BELIEVE. Believe the appreciation. Gratitude. Eucharisto. Simple, but not easy. Write them over and over until you believe them. Keep a gratitude journal. Keep notecards in your purse. Write appreciative notes to yourself and to others. Leave messages in the car, kitchen, and bathroom. Let appreciation shine and you are sure to being to believe.

Step three – Shine

Express eucharisto and let it shine! Give thanks for the little things. The more you give thanks, the more you see it, the more you can accept it.

I was raised in an environment in which appreciation did not exist. You did what you did – because it was expected of you. There was no thanks for something that you were simply supposed to do! And you did what you were supposed to do in order to avoid the possible consequences. This makes both providing and accepting appreciation a challenge that I have worked long and hard to overcome.

The bottomline

Similar to make of my posts, there is no easy answer. Why is it so hard to accept appreciation?

I could pretend to have the answers, but I do not. I am a work in progress. I am TERRIBLE at accepting appreciation. I prefer to remain humble – and have not quite fully learned that you can be humble and accepting of appreciation. I realize that I influence individuals daily – and for that many show great appreciation. But I deflect – in my mind, others are far more powerful and influential!

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