APPRECIATE by Ellie Israelsen (17)
Joy is a choice. I have come to know that so much lately. I was recently with a friend that I love with all my heart. She is so joyful, appreciative, glowy, positive, and happiness just radiates from her wherever she goes. We got talking about life and such and she told me about an extremely hard experience that she went through, and is still going through. I was stunned and so impressed by her strength, joy, and positivity. She could have let this traumatic event she went through tear her apart. She could have let it give her a reason to treat people terribly and stop living life fully, but instead she goes through life giving people so much love and happiness despite the pain she has to deal with. She appreciates. She appreciates loudly, and voices when she sees something beautiful. I think that is one of the things that has made her the strong, lovely, person she is.
I have a few people in my life that I love and crave being around just because of the light that they give off. Their presence just feels so good and uplifting, and I don’t want to leave it. All of these people have a common thread. They appreciate. They talk about the good things that happen to them, and the good things in the world, rather than people, or gossip, or faults in others. They appreciate tiny things that I would never think to appreciate until seeing them do so. Most importantly, they make me feel appreciated. They thank me, and love me authentically. They tell me they love me, but then they back it up with actions. They listen to what I am saying, they ask me questions about my life, they give my love and attention when I need it. Overall, they make me feel like someone that deserves to be appreciated.
The definition of the word “appreciate,” is “to recognize the full worth of.” When you appreciate things, and people for all that they are worth, life is immensely better. People want to be in your presence because they feel of worth. It helps them recognize what they are worth. We are so often blinded by our own insecurities, to the point that we can not see what we are good at, or what our gifts are. Be someone that helps others see the good parts within them. People need people like that. If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it. Not just your friends and family, but even people you don’t know very well, or complete strangers. You might feel creepy, and or stalkerish, but no one has ever not loved and appreciated a compliment. Recognize the gifts and wonderful things in people, and then voice it shamelessly.
When we appreciate everything we are given, life becomes happier, and what we have seemingly becomes enough. Appreciate the fact that you have running water, clean clothing, a warm bed, the opportunity to receive an education. Appreciate the sky, and seasons and mountains and the sun. Appreciate your mom, all the time. Appreciate your friends and your family and the people that lift you up. Appreciate hard times, and people that tear you down, they make you stronger. Appreciate times that you laugh so hard you can barely breath, and times you cry so hard that your heart is changed. Obviously, it is hard to appreciate and feel grateful constantly. There are days that I am frustrated, tired, upset, and subsequently unappreciative. I do not walk around all day everyday being appreciative and grateful for every single thing that comes into my life. No one does. But I am trying, and learning, and growing. Some nights, after a bad day I lay in bed and write down a list of things that I appreciate and feel grateful for. It sounds so simple and almost ineffective, but I am always amazed by how much it uplifts me and reminds me how good my life is and all of the things I have to appreciate.
Appreciate more. Make people feel appreciated. Not just because you feel like you should, but genuinely, truly find the things in someone that you appreciate and then tell them, show them, and help them appreciate themselves just as much as you do. Don’t let your love for people stay silent. Shout it, love loud, celebrate people. That’s what changes people’s hearts, and their perception of themselves.
Appreciate. It’s important.