i’m more and more convinced that appreciation is the antidote to all of our problems.
to highlight a potential application of appreciation, let’s start with a common context: relationships.
recently, i’m talking with a guy about his marriage issues.
he – like all of us – is focused on what’s not working.
spoiler alert: a focus on what’s NOT working is NOT the solution to relationships problems.
my client’s wife decreased her drinking significantly, which has netted a positive impact on their relationship, as well as the entire household.
specifically, a healthier lifestyle for each of them and more quality time with their children.
all-around positive impact.
but my client’s focus is on how his needs are not being met.
again, this isn’t unique to my client.
this is standard for you too.
finding the wrong
we generally focus on what’s not working.
our thinking mind is designed to find and figure out what is not working, then fix it.
so naturally, in a relationship, we identify what is not working, then we tell the other person about it so we can go about fixing it.
unfortunately, this “find it, fix it” strategy turns everything upside-down in relationships because – unlike a problem you encounter while taking out the garbage or changing a tire – relationships are personal.
in relationships, when we tell the other person what is not working, it inevitably comes out as a criticism.
and how well do you think criticism works in terms of getting your needs met?
it’s in your own self-interest not to criticize.
instead, try replacing criticism with appreciation.
applied to my client’s situation, his spouse’s reduction in drinking has had a positive impact on his life.
that needs to be elevated and celebrated!
it behooves him to express appreciation for the impact of her changed behavior because, relationally, it creates good ecology for the relationship – and is more likely to result in my client getting his needs met in the long run (sometimes immediately) .
it’s more effective in the long run to praise what is currently going well because that to which you give your attention grows.
but don’t believe me, trust your experience.
until next time,