Have you ever wondered what is the secret behind the easy, fun-filled relationships people seem to have with either themselves or others?
Like the loving, laughter-filled, 25-year marriage dear friends of mine inhabit?
Or the purposeful way a long-time solo girlfriend confidently navigates her world?
One thing both sets of people have in spades is a deep appreciation for the individuals and events in their lives. My solo girlfriend thoroughly appreciates her ability to set up her life the way she wants it and likes it. My long-time, married friends deeply appreciate the contributions of the other to their partnership.
Appreciation is the hinge, on which the door to vibrant, LOVING relationships, with oneself and others, swings open.
This Valentine’s Day, you may want to consider adding the powerful practice of appreciation to your tool box. It doesn’t matter if you are in a long-term relationship or celebrating your ability to fly solo with a high-five in the mirror. Appreciation is one of the foundations for a thriving relationship with yourself or others.
There is even a happy, little formula to think about when considering adding appreciation to your life.
John Gottman, co-founder of the Gottman Institute, and world renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, found thriving relationships have at least a five to one ratio of appreciations to negative comments. FIVE to ONE.
The practice of appreciation begins with focusing your lens on what is right. Consider: What is good about this moment, this day, this event, this person?
Five Ways to Boost Your Appreciation Levels:
Play the Five Appreciations Game:
Every time you catch yourself making a complaint or stating a criticism, on the spot, generate five appreciations. This activity helps open a wave of appreciation rather than sending you down the downward spiral of criticism.
Lead with Appreciation:
Spend a few minutes in the morning generating genuine appreciations for the people you are likely to interact with that day. Focus particular attention on individuals with whom you might have a difficult relationship, and generate a list of at least five qualities you can appreciate and admire in them. Do this for yourself, too!
Notice and Demonstrate Appreciation:
Pay attention; make a list of daily activities, or behaviors, people close to you do, and which make your life better and then thank them! Handwritten notes of gratitude to the individuals who help make your life easier, sweeter, and more fun is an especially fantastic way to express appreciation. Take time to do this for yourself, it is important to make note of what you are doing well that contributes to your thriving.
Verbal appreciations have more power if they are specific…”I appreciate you” is a good start; and “I appreciate how you carefully tie up the garbage and remember to take it out each week” is even better as you’ve noticed what and how your partner does something. Your appreciative sentiment lands because it is grounded in a particular time and space.
Personal change expert M.J. Ryan assures us, “Self-appreciation is powerful stuff: it reinforces the behavior we want to bring into being. It tells the brain: do more of this.” List five qualities you appreciate and admire about yourself. Celebrating our strengths and successes allows us to recognize the positive in ourselves; we come closer to living that greatness in all its dimensions.
Appreciation broadens our focus. It encourages us to celebrate the ordinary, the magnificent, the best in ourselves and our friends and family. When we focus on seeing the world through the five to one ratio of appreciations to criticism, it allows our friends and family and co-workers to shine in their own form of greatness.
A daily practice of it reinforces what is good and all that is right and well in our world, especially during times of crisis, challenge or change. Because of its expansiveness, actively practicing appreciation opens up the potential for our unique form of greatness to take shape.
Practice saying it today, “I appreciate you….”
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I would love to connect with you. Let’s boost your sense of contentment and satisfaction. We’ll go exploring to find the just-right, easy, absolutely yummy, happiness strategy to add into your life.
Please reach out to me HERE; Let’s have a conversation. It is YOUR time to THRIVE.