Wagging My Tail

This morning, I noticed how our pets reacted when I praised them.  Our dog Jasper held his tail high and wagged it back and forth, while our cat Lefty had more of an eloquent sweep and a dip pattern almost like a figure-8.  Regardless of their wagging style, both let me know that they were happy because of something I had said.  That was when I realized that everybody appreciates an encouraging word.

As children, we were encouraged through all stages of development with words of praise, smiles, and even clapping.  Think about how even potty training was a cause for celebration.  Growing up, parents, teachers, and coaches acted as our cheerleaders for a job well done through hugs, words, and even a pat on the back here and there.  It seems that as time passed and life got busier, recognition by others became less frequent.  I’m not suggesting that we stand outside the bathroom to clap and cheer each time somebody exits, but maybe we can remember that words of appreciation and admiration can have a positive effect on others.

Recognition has a greater value than we may realize.  It improves a person’s self-esteem.  It encourages somebody to continue on with a challenging task.  It offers a sense of value.  Appreciation replaces feelings of vulnerability, uncertainty, and anxiety with confidence, assurance, and peace.  Did you ever realize how sharing one good thought could have such a powerful impact on a person?

Two things happen when we offer a sign of appreciation through words or actions.  We help somebody to feel good about themselves which allows us to feel good about ourselves.  Now, on the other side of this coin, I like to receive compliments and encouragement as well but that is not in my control.  What I can control is how I appreciate others and still benefit with a positive effect of an act of gratitude.  Some ways that I have given and received appreciation are as follows:

  • Offer a sincere thank you for something somebody did even if it is  something  that “they are paid to do” because it helped you
  • Acknowledge them publicly so they can enjoy a moment in the sun and shine bright to others
  • Be generous with compliments.  Add some meat to the compliment and turn a “Good job” to “Good job on that paper.  I like the way you…”
  • Show appreciation with a thoughtful treat of a cup of coffee or to a fun movie
  • Go through your address book and call somebody who had a positive impact on you and tell them how they helped you
  • Show an interest in what was done to accomplish a task.   Allow the person to share their process so they can create a self-worth by sharing with you their process.
  • Acknowledge talents and time put into something that they value because it is important to them such as an artist’s painting or a child’s finished homework assignment

No matter what you say or do, all forms of appreciation, recognition, and acknowledgment share a message with a great value.  The value that you offer effects another person’s self-worth.  What a beautiful world we can share in when we remember that we all are worthy of recognition.  That is why I want to thank you for reading this, because I appreciate your time and hope that you find some value in the writing that is my pleasure to share.  (Pssst!  I’m wagging my tail.)

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