Ever been down with a cold? A sore throat and a running nose that made it very difficult to breathe? Or you had an injury that made it challenging to use that part of your body to its full capacity? Wasn't it in those moments you remembered how precious your health was? Breathing freely. Deeply inhaling and exhaling the oxygen around you. Being pain-free, running, jumping and doing anything you want without any limitations? Health is something most of us take for granted. When it is taken away, even just for a moment, we recognize the true value of it. And that is the perfect illustration of how we often fail to take the time to truly appreciate the things we have or the people around us.
From an early age, we are taught to say "Please" and "Thank you". To be polite and well mannered. To say those words to express our gratitude is something we have become accustomed to. But how many times do you really mean "Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly appreciate this. I truly appreciate you.", when do you say those words? Probably only on rare occasions. That doesn't necessarily mean we have become a society that is ungrateful and unappreciative of things. It is more linked to the things we choose to focus on or be distracted by. We are surrounded by a multitude of different messages every day. So much "noise" that it is often difficult to stay on track and to discern the right things to pay attention to. Marketers face the same challenge when trying to reach and market their products to their target audience. How to break through the clutter? Still, you're not a victim of your circumstances! It is in your hands to navigate yourself through the jungle of distractions and fix your gaze on the things that are important and matter to you.
Being appreciative might seem trivial to some but expressing your gratitude is more than just taking a bit more time to be thankful. It is a time for reflection and meditation. An opportunity to uncover the things you had forgotten. To remember and acknowledge victory where you only saw losses. To recognize the light where there was only darkness. To discover new opportunities where you only saw closed doors. Appreciation is not something you solely give to others but something you deserve to give to yourself as well. Being appreciative of your personality, skills, and abilities will give you the strength and wisdom to uplift and appreciate others.
Often we tend to overlook the small gestures and shove them aside as not being worth the acknowledgement. We consider them "normal" or "nothing special". But don't let others dictate for you what you ought to be appreciative of. Sometimes a kind word or a smile could have a much greater impact than an expensive gift.
Take a moment to think about the last time you truly appreciated the people around you: family, friends, colleagues, your partner or spouse. Then, what about yourself? If I would ask you to list three things you appreciate about yourself, would you be able to name them without hesitation? The things that make you God's wonderful and unique creation. "Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)
Start appreciating today and don't wait until tomorrow, as tomorrow is not guaranteed. Let your appreciation start now!