This is the 2nd in a series of postings sharing my thoughts and experiences on the topic of basic needs of humans and the feelings we have when those needs are and are not being met. The opening post in the series is “BASIC NEEDS Being Met? Feelings are the Signal“ You may want to give it a read before proceeding. Think of it like a brochure for the journey you’re about to embark on! And thanks for joining me… I always appreciate and enjoy traveling with friends.
One of the most essential of basic human needs is APPRECIATION. I say this because it tends to be a cornerstone to other important needs in ourselves and in others or at least has the ability to cultivate them; human needs like: Respect, Consideration, Beauty, Harmony, Understanding, Inspiration and Peace. When someone appreciates us, we feel respected, understood and at peace. When we are appreciative of others, we are considerate, respectful and understanding. Coming or going, appreciation inspires harmony, and is a source of inspiration helping us to see the beauty in all people and things, including ourselves.
On the flip side, if appreciation is missing in our lives–either in receiving it or feeling it–it ends up distorting our world dramatically. That’s because there are so many other needs hedged on its presence. If we under-appreciate those around us, we can become selfish or self-absorbed, callous, detached, insensitive. One who is unable to appreciate is destined to be lonely, for lack of feeling connected or being connected with others. These people can become dangerous to society or to themselves. If someone under-appreciates us, we may feel profound sadness, dismay. We may even react in a spiteful way and set out to under-appreciate them, to show them what it feels like until it alters our behavior and becomes second nature for us.
When I was married, my husband and I had gone through a dramatic set of experiences lasting several years that had truly tested us individually and as a couple. I’ll just be blunt about it and say that he had great struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, physical pain and discomfort, and alcohol. It’s a combination I wish on no one, and a recipe for disaster in life and relationships. For a long time we dealt with the trials and tribulations as a team. I felt immensely appreciated by him for standing by his side through trying times. I was praised by him in front of his friends and was routinely commended by them for being such a good woman. That appreciation fed my respect and empathy for him, and motivated me to remain supportive. When others might have thrown in the towel, I stayed. But the day came where the winds changed and the good woman was soon regarded as the nag. Nothing had really changed, however, but his perception during another set of challenges. Before the change there was true beauty, respect and harmony in our relationship; we had been amazed we’d weathered life’s storms and somehow made it through. When we acted as a team, appreciating each other, we were balanced. With the changed perception, appreciation disappeared along with every good thing remotely related to it.
Appreciation needs to be practiced. It has to become part of our reactive thinking and a great way to practice it is by interaction with nature. Appreciation for nature begets appreciation for each other. Nature is the ultimate teacher when it comes to learning lessons in gratitude. It’s so easy to pay attention in her classroom and she has so much to offer. In a techno world of artificial instant gratification, she presents the positive, healthy version. That’s right, if you want instant gratification, all you have to do is ditch the video games–save your money, your eyes, and hours upon hours of wasted time–and head for the trail… to the beach, to the mountaintop, to the meadow.
LOUIS SCHWARTZBERG’S FILM ON GRATITUDE
A few nights ago, I had the divine pleasure of meeting Louie Schwartzberg, the maker of a lovely film about gratitude that captures the positive effects of practicing appreciation. It was at a fundraiser for NatureBridge, a nonprofit I’ve been volunteering with this past half year that gets kids–especially underprivileged, urban kids–out into our National Parks to learn science. What they learn, though, is so much more.
“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” –Louis Schwartzberg
What I most noticed in meeting Louie was a beauty reflected in his eyes; he was not just a person but a beautiful soul and what I saw in his eyes was love and gratitude. Have you ever met people like that? The ones who seem to speak to you soul-to-soul instead of person-to-person, who seem to see right through to the true you? Their eyes seem ageless, timeless and wise. You can feel their life energy and feel spiritually ‘touched’ by them. By speaking with Louie, I’ve been reminded the value of appreciation and that we all have that life light in us waiting to be cultivated. Please take a moment to see a sample of Louie’s good work and worthy message:
To repeat the closing words in this film clip . . . “I wish that you will open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you. That every one whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you. Just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch. Just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.”
I appreciate you, my dear readers. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and may you fully appreciate all that has been given to you if you only open your eyes.