Appreciation: Fuel for Life – Part I (NVC in Relationships)

Message from Myra

Dear Friends,

Today I’d like to talk about appreciation. I believe that human beings long for appreciation. We long to learn if and how we contribute to the well being of others. When we receive appreciation we feel happy and our energy increases. Yet, in my perception, this important need can often go unmet. Expressing appreciation makes us vulnerable. We run the risk of offering a gift that the other person may not receive. For instance, I thank someone for listening to me and he or she may say: “No problem” (I know this was not a problem, I wanted to express my gratitude). Or the answer might be, in Spanish, “De nada” meaning “It was nothing.” (It sure was something, this was important to me).

Similarly, it seems difficult to receive appreciation. One day, during a clinical visit, I was moved by how a doctor interacted with me. When he left the room, I wrote a note thanking him for his medical care and his caring. He came back, read the note and asked, “What’s wrong?” I ponder the reasons why I may have difficulty receiving appreciation. Here are some possibilities: Am I afraid to set up an expectation? Do I have difficulty trusting the person’s sincerity? Am I fearful of pride?

Nonviolent Communication teaches us a process to give appreciation in ways that make it more likely that the other person will receive our gift. Rather than judging the person’s character, albeit positively, as in “You are so kind” or evaluating his or her actions as in “You did a great job,” we express three things: (1) What the person did, (2) How we feel in this moment, and (3) The need or needs of ours that were met. To illustrate the process I’d like to express an appreciation that is very alive in my heart:

Michael and Yolanda, thank you for coming in early on Saturday to help me set up the room before the workshop. Thank you for staying an hour and a half after the workshop to debrief and help me break down the room. I am touched and grateful for your help and support. I rejoice in our collaboration. Together, we are making the dream of bringing NVC to our community come true. With love and gratitude. Myra

So here’s my suggestion to spread joy: What if we make it a point to express appreciation to our loved ones, friends, coworkers and other people in our lives? The wonderful effect it can have is to remind them that their lives are meaningful and what they do does make a difference to us. What a gift! I see all of us walking around with a magic wand spreading streams of light and little stars.

I say good-bye today with appreciation to all of you for your interest in Nonviolent Communication. Thank you for increasing peace in your circles and in our world.

Myra

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About Institute for Empowering Communication

Co-founder of the Institute for Empowering Communication
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