Today’s peacemaking focus is on “APPRECIATION,” from the root LL. appretiare, to value at a price, to esteem. The word ties several valuable attributes together: – appreciation – as in increase in value; appreciation – as in a feeling of gratitude or admiration or that something, someone is “precious;” and appreciation – as in a declaration of another’s value – praise, applause. All three meanings have possibilities for increasing peace in a family, a workplace, a school, a community.
Appreciation, as gratitude or actively valuing, is a very powerful healing tool. First, it heals the self, by removing the focus on what one does NOT want, and seeing beyond the immediate to a bigger picture…and what we do have… and we all know that what we focus on expands. And then, with this positive expanded view, the full heart can offer sincere appreciation, even admiration, to others, increasing their self-valuation, increasing joy, and thus increasing the peace.
When I was working for Dr. Dennis Embry creating research-based materials to build a positive learning environment for children, praise was a primary ingredient in turning a school around. Not just effective praise from teacher to student – that too – but praise between students, praise from student to teacher, praise brought home. One vehicle is a PRAISE NOTE, decorated and pre-printed, distributed in pads, so that students and teachers had ready access… and fun ceremonies and practices to encourage their use. It is amazing what can happen when people spend the day looking for things to praise in each other, instead of things to criticize.
2. “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” William James
3. “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
4. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
5. “The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
6. “Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of Good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” Alan Cohen
AFFIRMATION: Everyone I meet, even those with whom I most ardently disagree, even those who have been unpleasant to me or harmed me, everyone has something I can appreciate about them, for each one is a spark of the Divine.
PEACE ACTION/ SOUL-ution: Create a “Praise Note” in any way that comes to mind, to give to someone you love – sharing something specific that you especially appreciate about them. Then create a “Praise Note” to give to someone you have had conflicts with.
The Season for Nonviolence is celebrated from January 30-April 4, each year, between the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mohands K. Gandhi and Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in order to further their vision of just and peaceful world.
This series of blogs are intended to inspire thoughts and actions which increase the peace on the planet. They are spiritual, not political.