To appreciate is to understand, value, and increase in value. Appreciation can by itself enliven and empower whatever is appreciated. So practice thinking in appreciative terms and help discern, delve into and develop the wisdom-generating resource-value of people, situations, and the life and living systems in and all around us.
Some related patterns: 6 Capacitance 29 Expanding Situational Curiosity 31 Exuberance 63 Power of Listening 75 Sacredness 80 Story 84 Tackling Cognitive Limitations
Going deeper …
This is an edited version of the video on this page.
Usually you think that to appreciate something is to think how valuable it is, or to voice your appreciation: “I think you’re great!” Understanding is another application of that word, as in “I’ve come to appreciate the complexity of what’s going on here.” And it can also refer to an increase in the value of the thing being appreciated, as in “Certain kinds of landscaping can help a house appreciate in value.” It is a really interesting word – and it is thought-provoking to combine all three of those meanings.
When you combine all those meanings together, you value something because you understand it, and you understand where it fits. And your informed, appreciative relationship to it, your attitude about it, enhances it, making it even more valuable. This combination produces a very potent level appreciation.
We all know that if we are particularly appreciative of a child, if we appreciate whatever the child is doing, they come to life, they feel more powerful and able to function. If you appreciate a kid’s art, they’re more inclined to do art. It’s a validation of them, and they want more of that, so they do it some more.
“We are great!” says the leader, appreciating the people they are leading, thereby enlivening and empowering them. There is more team spirit and energy in that group, if the leaders are appreciative of them.
Appreciative critique is an interesting, seemingly contradictory phrase, but there’s a dynamic tension in it that can be quite powerful. First of all, your appreciative critique is specifically designed to help out, to help the person or thing be better. It’s not a “cutting down” kind of critique. So you are looking at things that could be made better while appreciating the larger effort and the highlights. You could even appreciate the intention: if the thing itself doesn’t seem to be achieving the desired results, you can still appreciate the intention behind it, while you critique the way it goes about trying to do whatever it’s doing, with your intention being to help it ultimately succeed.