Proverbs 10:11 (NIV)
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Our words have incredible power. They can build up, or they can destroy. One of the best ways to build up your spouse, children, colleagues, and friends is by showing your appreciation for them.
I think that William James is right on when he said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
I know that I am a person who thrives on words of appreciation. It is even my dominant love language for any of you who have read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I can’t even begin to explain the difference it makes in my life. Affirmation motivates me to keep working at a task in spite of odds and disappointment and inspires me to excel in my performance. It spurs me on toward growth and improvement. It gets me up and keeps me going. It acknowledges my value and my worth.
Appreciation is like sunlight to the human spirit; it helps us to flower and grow. Mark Twin once confessed he could “live for two months on one good complement.” Twain was just admitting what most of us feel privately that we all need a lift from time to time.
Do you regularly look for opportunities to show appreciation for others? God doesn’t take people for granted and we shouldn’t either. If you notice something special about someone, take the time to mention it to them. Be sure to remember the little things: the button sewn on your shirt; the laundry done; the garbage taken out; the clean house; the juggling of career and family; sensitivity; and quiet qualities. Be specific with your praise, be truthful, and be generous. At the same time, don’t forget to show appreciation to God for all He has done for you as well.
A world full of appreciation is a much brighter world.