Tonight’s focus is on “appreciation.” The quote that I chose is from Voltaire. Wikipedia says:
François-Marie Arouet (French… 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plumeVoltaire…was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state.
Appreciation is defined as “gratitude; thankful recognition.” It is felt to be the cornerstone of happiness. So, without further delay, let’s look at the quote.
The quote I chose is:
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~Voltaire~
To begin with, the Voltaire’s quote says, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing.” It establishes that appreciation is a positive quality by saying it is wonderful. What do you think of when the word, “wonderful” is mentioned? For me, two thoughts come to mind. One is the thought of full of wonder. The second is more literal and memory-based and reminds me of the quote, “The Wonderful World of Disney” which was a TV show when I was growing up on Sunday nights at 6 pm. It included cartoons, documentaries and entertainment for the whole family. The use of “wonderful” in the title and what followed, programmed you to understand what wonderful was. It was extraordinary, full of wonder, amazing…at least in the 1050-70’s. So, back to the word appreciation, it is established as a wonderful thing.
The second part of the quote says, “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” This part further states that appreciation of the excellence of others makes it belong to us as well. There is the appreciation of even the little things, such as a clear sunny day or the fresh smell of new mown grass. The focus is on what is there rather than what is missing. It teaches you to stand up and pay attention, notice the small things. It is the fact that others make our world excellent through their contribution or sphere of influence. Some of the things to appreciate and that become part of our world are nature, animals, weather, inventions by other people, etc.
Have you ever looked at a bug or a piece of grass the way a three-year-old child looks at it? One of the advantages for me in living with my daughter and her family is to be able to see again the wonder of a child as he or she discovers new things from his/her perspective. One example that I can give is the wonder from my granddaughter when she lost her first tooth last year and had a visit from the “Tooth Fairy.” Now, I knew it was her mother and father that gave her 50 cents and a handful of glitter, but for her it was real and exciting and full of wonder. I experienced the “excellence” through her eyes and her reaction. For a few moments, I was the child experiencing the wonder of the Tooth Fairy. I was 5 again.
So what can we do in our sphere of influence? We can show our appreciation by noticing what other people and animals do that effect us whether it is a hug, a smile, a thank you, a happy greeting from your dog. You name it. It is learning to give heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for the small things that many times go unnoticed. It has to be genuine, authentic though to be real to the person or animal you are appreciating, so remember that. False appreciation rings as untrue.
- My ability to focus on the small things that others do.
- That my H.P. (God) provides me with so many things to appreciate in the world around me.
- That by choosing to pay attention, notice the small wonders around me that I can alter my mood.
- My ability to experience wonder through the eyes of my grandchildren.
- My family’s love, support and appreciation of me.
I pray that you can experience wonder and appreciation.