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Appreciate: Why Should You?

Years ago, under the mesmerizing allure of stage lights, I was at the heart of a comedy performance that captured hearts and resonated with laughter like nothing I had ever witnessed. The entire experience was nothing short of surreal. Each joke, each line, was met with roaring applause, solidifying the show's place as an overwhelming success. Yet, as the curtain fell and I stepped off that illuminated platform, the deafening applause was replaced with silence, and the ordinary humdrum of life promptly resumed. This sudden plunge from euphoria to everyday reality was striking.

However, it was an event that followed that night deeply touched the core of my being. My senior colleague, a remarkable lady with an astute sense of observation, faced the challenge of the city's desolate streets and closed storefronts. She had ventured out into the late night, navigating the city's quiet corners, all in search of an open shop. And she succeeded, only to gift me a new shirt the next day morning.

But this wasn’t just about the shirt; it was about so much more. Her gesture was an embodiment of genuine appreciation. The way she recounted every nuance of my performance, praising every effort and every tiny detail, made me realize the depth of her acknowledgement.

As I held that shirt, emotions overwhelmed me, and tears, which I seldom shed, began to blur my vision. Those weren’t merely tears of gratitude; they were an outpouring of realization, acknowledgement, and a newfound resolve. Her kindness and earnest appreciation served as a poignant reminder of the profound impact such gestures could have. From that transformative moment, I pledged to never let any act of dedication, no matter how small, go unnoticed or unappreciated.

The Lost Art of Appreciation

In today's fast-paced world, the culture of appreciation seems to be dwindling at an alarming rate. The modern ethos, which values efficiency and productivity above all, often pushes genuine human connections and acknowledgements to the periphery. The rise of technology and the digital age, while bringing numerous advantages, has also inadvertently contributed to reducing the 'humanness' in our daily interactions.

In our modern milieu, the culture of appreciation has become distressingly scarce. Many view actions through transactional lenses, often echoing sentiments like, "Oh, he's just doing his job." or "What's in it for her?". This prevalent mindset has eroded the genuine culture of acknowledgement. The joy and value of an action or creation are often diminished, with motives being questioned or overlooked entirely.

Take, for instance, the workplace. The trend of remote working, which gained traction, especially after global events like the pandemic, has led to teams collaborating virtually. While this mode of work offers flexibility, it also creates an environment where employees can feel isolated. In virtual meetings, we often miss the small nuances of human interaction - the pat on the back, the appreciative nod, or the reassuring smile.

Feedback often comes in the form of impersonal emails or text messages, stripped of emotion and warmth. Over time, employees might start to feel like mere cogs in a machine, with their efforts being routinely expected, rather than acknowledged and celebrated.

Social media, a dominant force in contemporary life, often exacerbates this trend. Platforms designed for sharing and connecting have, ironically, sometimes fostered environments where individuals vie for validation through 'likes', 'shares', and 'comments'. In such an ecosystem, appreciation is often fleeting and superficial, given not for genuine achievements or efforts but for curated highlights and viral trends.

The Cycle of Give and Receive

From my observations, many illustrious personalities rarely let an opportunity to appreciate pass them by. It's almost as if there’s an unspoken rule – the more you appreciate, the more positivity gravitates towards you. This principle, akin to the law of attraction, has been exemplified by luminaries throughout history. When Walt Disney commended his team's creativity, it propelled them to craft stories that have transcended generations. The fostering of a culture of gratitude can be a catalyst for monumental achievements.

The act of appreciating someone can be equated to watering a sapling. Just as the sapling thrives with care, blossoming into a majestic tree, humans too flourish when their efforts are acknowledged. Renowned educators like Maria Montessori believed that a child's potential could be unlocked through validation and appreciation. The confidence instilled then acts as a bedrock for monumental achievements in their later life.

Barriers to Appreciation

Appreciating others seems like a simple, almost innate human behaviour, but several barriers often hinder individuals from expressing gratitude and acknowledgement. Delving into these obstacles can offer insight into how we might overcome them to foster a more appreciative culture. Here's an elucidation of these barriers:


At the forefront of these barriers is ego. Many people, consciously or unconsciously, see the acknowledgement of others as a diminishment of their own worth or achievements. The flawed notion is that if someone else shines brightly, it might overshadow one's own light.


Closely tied with ego, jealousy acts as a significant hindrance. When one envies another's achievements or qualities, it becomes challenging to genuinely appreciate them.

Taking Things for Granted:

Over time, consistent efforts or acts of kindness by someone can be normalized, leading individuals to take these actions for granted. This complacency prevents the recognition and appreciation that these actions deserve.

Cultural Norms:

Some cultures or familial environments might not emphasize open displays of gratitude or acknowledgement. Growing up in such settings can lead individuals to believe that vocalizing appreciation isn't necessary.

Fear of Vulnerability:

Expressing appreciation requires a level of vulnerability. It means opening up emotionally, and not everyone is comfortable with this level of transparency.


Sometimes, appreciation is felt but not adequately communicated. People might believe they're showing gratitude through their actions when, in reality, the person on the receiving end might not perceive it as such.

Busyness: The rapid pace of modern life can lead individuals to overlook the importance of pausing and appreciating the efforts of others. The daily grind can overshadow moments of gratitude.

Fear of Overstepping Boundaries: In formal settings, like the workplace, some might feel that appreciating someone might come off as unprofessional or as crossing a line, especially if the appreciation is personal in nature.

Lack of Self-awareness: An individual who isn't in tune with their own emotions and feelings might find it challenging to acknowledge and appreciate the emotions and efforts of others.

Misplaced Priorities: In a society that often prioritizes materialistic achievements over emotional or moral ones, acts of kindness or effort that don't result in tangible outcomes might be overlooked.

Appreciation: Our Second Nature

In our ephemeral world, where memories fade swiftly, the act of genuine appreciation remains etched in time. Medically, when someone appreciates us, our brain releases dopamine, often termed the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter. This not only boosts our mood but also improves motivation, attention, and learning. On the other hand, when we appreciate others, our body experiences reduced stress and increased happiness due to the release of oxytocin. It's a win-win, physiologically and emotionally.

As a species, humans have thrived not because of competition but cooperation. Our evolutionary journey underscores the importance of mutual support. Hence, appreciation shouldn't be an occasional act but our second nature. The essence of human happiness, I've come to believe, is deeply intertwined with the joy we derive from uplifting others.

In reflection, I've stumbled upon a profound truth – the unparalleled joy that lies in genuine appreciation. This isn't about mere words, but a deep recognition of someone's worth and efforts. This is my cornerstone of happiness: valuing and uplifting those around us. I ardently invite each of you to experience this transformative power.

In a world that often feels fleeting, let's not miss a beat in acknowledging the brilliance in others. True appreciation can ignite passions, heal wounds, and bridge divides. Let this message resonate: a heartfelt acknowledgement can set forth waves of positive change. Together, let's champion the cause of appreciation, weaving a legacy of deep-seated recognition and respect for generations to come.


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