Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658) wrote a little book entitled “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” that has influenced millions, great and small, for more than three hundred years. It is a collection of three hundred aphorisms that address our dealing with others and our engagement with the world.
Aphorism 195 begins: Know how to appreciate. In it he writes: “It is useful to know exactly how to enjoy each person. The wise person esteems everyone, for he recognizes the good in each, and he realizes how hard it is to do things well.”
Our innate capacity to appreciate surely is one of our richest resources. At times when we struggle with “cabin fever” or its opposite—feeling isolated—this is often a neglected resource that pays great dividends. It’s actually appropriate in all situations of life.
The expression of appreciation does not attribute perfection to the other. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the worth of others, of their capacity to do and say good things. It reflects the good in you, your ability to see commendable things in others, your generosity of heart to express what you see. It’s a win-win resource—a win for the person you appreciate, and a win for you.
Think about it: here’s a human encounter that only takes a moment but the dividends can change the entire atmosphere, deepen relationship, bring warmth and joy. It even has the power to thaw hard feelings, hostilities, tension. Yes, it even helps with that annoying, undeserving, obnoxious character you know!
Okay, enough said. I’ve only said what we all already know. Just a reminder.
Know how to appreciate…enjoy each person. Though written years ago, age hasn’t taken the “shine” off this one.