Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 9, 2002

The great power of appreciation


A woman was in a self-improvement course. She asked her husband to list some things she could do to become a better wife.

Stunned, he requested time to ponder the question.

He got up early the next day, called a florist, and ordered six red roses for her. The attached note read: "I can't think of six things I'd change about you ­ I love you the way you are."

When he arrived home that night, his wife met him with tears of gratitude.

It wasn't that he didn't have six criticisms - it's just that he realized that a greater power than criticism is appreciation.

We can fuss at everyone about all his or her shortcomings, and we may well be accurate in our assessments. But friendships bloom and grow when they are nurtured in the soil of affection and appreciation.

Often, when people really know they are loved and valued, they are open to change, too.

­ Radio broadcast by Dr. Rod Wilmoth, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

You may have heard the above radio broadcast on the radio one morning last week, as I did. Dr. Rod Wilmoth does one every morning on a couple different stations.

This one got me thinking about the simple things in life that mean so much - little things like appreciation and kindness.

They are so often thrown by the wayside, especially to the people that we care about. It's easy to abuse the people we spend the most time with, because we know they aren't going anywhere.

We can all use some improvement in this area, myself included. People obviously respond more favorably to kind constructive criticisms than cruel personal jabs. Go figure.

It's all in the presentation - I can't stress that enough. I listened to a little ditty not too long ago on reading body language. What I learned was fascinating.

The presentation is what will make your point in a positive or negative way. If you really want a person to listen to your ideas and respond favorably, try the positive approach by telling them some good things first. Then slightly change the way you hold yourself physically.

Tone of voice counts, too, as well as expression. Leaning toward someone gives the impression of overpowering them to show strength. Step back a bit and relax your body and you will see an amazing difference in how your words are interpreted.

And never, never use personal jabs to make your point. That means eliminating the words "I told you so" from your vocabulary. The only reaction you will get from those words is resistance.

By softening your voice and body language, and changing the focus from an order to a suggestion, most times you will find that people will take your words more seriously. We all want other people to think highly of us.

And it is imperative that you let them know what they do well, and biting your tongue when you feel a little, picky criticism coming on, although painful, is a good thing, as well. Appreciation is a powerful tool.

Not only will your suggestions be looked upon more seriously, but you may even find that people are more apt to try to please you.

It all goes back to the basics ­ treating others in the same way you would like to be treated.

Love (or like) them for who they are, not what you would like them to be.

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