Appreciation. It’s a funny thing. Some people live their whole lives feeling appreciated by those they love. Walking around beaming with pride from their very soul as if the very rays of the sun are coming from within. They know that their presence matters to someone, and that mere feeling pushes them from day to day with an exuberance to top their last.  Then some people live their whole life just wanting an ounce of appreciation from one truly pivotal person in their life. Whether it’s an abused spouse trying their damnedest to make their significant other show just a hint of happiness for having them in their life, or whether it be a silently ignored child just fighting for an ounce of affection from a parent who doesn’t seem to notice or care that they exist.

The universe itself thrives on appreciation. Those who live life with a thankful heart live life to the fullest. The more they appreciate what the universe has to offer, the more it wants to offer to them. People are very much the same. The more they feel appreciated, the more they want to do. Decades ago when divorce was less rampant, what kept families happy? Why did a man continue happily slaving at an endless job every day of his life? What kept a woman happily putting every meal on the table for her family? The key word here is “happy”. Those who happily did it most likely felt appreciated for these monotonous and mundane efforts.

Appreciation. Whether you look at it in extremes or in minute instances. It can make or break a person. Lack of appreciation can turn a heart cold. It causes divorces. It makes good employees leave good jobs. It can create tyrants. Or it can create a silent and deadly depression as it makes one’s soul slowly wither away. There is an endless array of circumstances that can befall a person when they feel unappreciated. Sure it may vary based on circumstances, but the fact of the matter remains.. we all seek to be appreciated in some form or another.

We may not all care about the amount of appreciation we receive. We may not all care if it comes from every aspect of our life. But I am pretty certain everyone has at least one key component in their life where a little appreciation means everything to them. A parent wanting their ever demanding kids to realize all the sacrifices they’ve made. A young child, wanting a parent to appreciate a drawing they worked so hard on. A star athlete wanting to feel valued by a respected coach. The best employee wanting to know the boss recognizes their efforts. A stay-at-home mom who lives life day-to-day with little adult interaction while her husband entertains late into the evening. Most don’t actively do things seeking appreciation, but they do notice when there is a lack thereof.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to feel appreciated. A feeling that says, “Hey I see you.” “I acknowledge your efforts.” “I understand you.” Or “I am thankful for you.” A little appreciation can go a long way. It can make one’s efforts push beyond all expectations. But a lack of appreciation can go a long way too, as it can push a person down into the deep recesses of humanity. It’s the story often told in movies of triumph. It’s the story often told in movies of despair. It’s the unmentioned catalyst in both. But if you step back and focus on it, you’ll see its presence or lack thereof. You just may come to understand what it means to receive or show appreciation.

Appreciation. It’s very much like a smile; show a little and you may just change someone’s day…a server, a clerk, a stranger helping you on the street. But don’t stop just there, for we all tend to show more appreciation to those whose paths we will never cross again than we do for the very people right in front of us day-to-day. Don’t forget those who support you, whose very lives intertwine with yours. Those may be the very souls who need it the most from you. The people we become complacent with having in our lives. How quickly we grow to expect so much from them.  Make sure they know they are appreciated. Don’t take them for granted. For no matter how much you love them, people get tired eventually. Even if they stick it out, life offers no guarantees.  As the old saying goes: take time to stop and smell the roses. This too has always be just a little reminder about appreciation.