How comfortable are you with receiving appreciation?
I thought I was – after years of practice! – until this week when my phone rang. I saw who it was: someone that I recently got to know and with whom I’m really enjoying a connection with.
You know when conversations with someone flow easily, when it’s easy to make yourself at home in their home, where you put on the kettle and open the fridge and it feels like you’ve been friends for a long time? Well, it’s been like that.
Turns out they were calling to appreciate me. Having just read Nancy Kline’s chapter in ‘Time to Think’ on appreciation I was especially conscious of not interrupting, not rejecting it, of just listening, of just being with his appreciation. And still, I noticed that I was getting nervous; I noticed how I got up, how I started walking around the room, then to the room next door, then around the house!
I stuck with the discomfort. I brought my body to a standstill. I listened as best I could. Then at the end, I said ‘Thank you for that beautiful blessing, I very much appreciate it’.
That was it.
Nothing else needed to be said.
I didn’t have to launch into immediate tit-for-tat reciprocal appreciation. I didn’t have to minimize or reject their view of me or put myself down – which so many people do with ‘innocent’ phrases like ‘Oh it was nothing’ or ‘Flattery will get you everywhere’.
What they told me was, after all, the way they see me.
Why would you do anything but listen, and accept, and appreciate the appreciation?
Here’s my challenge to you if you’re up for it … the next time someone gives you appreciation, no matter how big the temptation to deflect, ignore or trivialise, how about just listening, and when they’re done, saying ‘Thank you’?
Do it and let me know how it changes everything. It must.