• 2011 (16)
  • 2010 (141)
  • 2009 (12)

You Have Innate Appreciation Without Being Grateful

October 25, 2010

Finger PaintingThe great self-helpers tell us that we must practice gratitude. Without an obliged attitude, we are apt to suffer low self-esteem and self-worth. What they fail to report is that we are born with innate appreciation. The moment we draw our first breath; we are grateful for it and appreciate our capacity to breathe. Fully unaware of manners and people pleasing skills we show appreciation daily. As baby nurses at the mother’s breast, both recognize breast appreciation. When a toddler receives something, he or she wants a smile forms that declares that they feel appreciation. As we age and our parents begin to feel that we should be, more grateful they begin teaching manners. They enforce the rules of please; thank you and you are welcome. These people pleasing skills can rob us of our sincere appreciation! As well as set our expectations in line with failure.

Manners and social skills can assist us in making friends and becoming liked. However, this cannot guarantee that happiness, and friendship will follow us throughout our lives. We are innately happy and trying to please other people can reduce our joy substantially. We cannot always say what another person wants to hear, and if we do not the consequences can feel excessive. Guilt and what we should have or could have done can tear us up inside. Because parents teach children to say, thank you and please, it becomes automatic, and it loses sincerity. Being grateful in a robotic fashion cannot produce a heartfelt appreciation. Notice how the eyes of a child light up and when the smile forms accept it as a thank you and watch what happens. Hold the door open for a stranger and see the smile in their eyes.

So must we become grateful in life, as the great minds suggested? Instead, can we learn to appreciate what we have without obligation? The other day I commanded my granddaughter, Sara, to tell her brother thank you. I was delighted when he told her, “Just give me a hug, and you won’t have to feel indebted.” Noah is eight years old and how he thought of this, I cannot understand! Later I gave Sara a cookie, and she smiled broadly and lit up my world. She was pleased and thankful without saying a word! We are born with innate appreciation that parents drill out of us through a sense of obligation. This obligation can cause resentment and shyness. In addition, insincerity that takes us further from the appreciation we felt the day we drew our first breath. It is typical for children to act ungrateful and take advantage. I ask you this. Do we teach them to please us because we require them to feel grateful, or because we want them to experience appreciation?

As you consider this article, please think of how you can return to your innate appreciation. Before you utilize your people pleasing skills ask yourself if you feel sincere. As your level of sincerity toward life and other people develop, your own self-worth and appreciation increases. You cannot always get what you want with kindness and at times being the real you serve you best. Being an authentic means being true to you and loving other people enough to be honest. Being authentic is non-robotic, non-reactive; it is responsive. You can say thank you with a smile and leave the polite obligations behind you sometimes. It is all right if someone fails to respond to your kindness. If they say thank you out of habit, say you are welcome with intent and appreciation. By returning a sincere you are welcome you feel the appreciation and validate the moment.


2 Comments to “You Have Innate Appreciation Without Being Grateful”

  1. Hi Sandra,

    I really agree with the sentiment of this post. If I do something nice for someone it is enough that they appreciate what I have done – that they smile and say thank you. Sometimes it is just enough that I have done whatever I have done and I walk away happily.

    I don’t want them to feel in any way obliged to me or that they owe me a good turn in the future. It would be as if I was going through life trying to earn as many brownie points as I could.

    .-= Marion Anderson´s last blog ..Have you turned into a Frog =-.

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Marion,

      Life really is wonderful when we can understand that we have an appreciation. Numerous people tell us that we must be or feel grateful and this can set us back in our growth. Watching for something to be thankful for is like looking for something that is nonexistent. This type of thinking can promote lack thinking and frustration. I am delighted to hear that you have returned from vacation, and I look forward to reading your posts.