You appreciate me! Seriously. You do. Whether you know it or not. You appreciate me. In fact, you’re doing it right now. You’re appreciating me right now! The truth is, you appreciate me far more than you’ll probably ever even know.
If you’ve continued to read to this second paragraph, you’re probably thinking, Who is he to tell me what or who I appreciate? In fact, I don’t appreciate him telling me I appreciate him. F@&$%#ing Jerk!
Let me explain…
The way you define the word ‘appreciate’ varies depending on your mindset at the time. Unless you’re a really negative person most of the time, if I were to ask you what the word ‘appreciate’ means, your first thought would probably be that’s it’s an expression of gratitude—and I wouldn’t disagree with that. If I were to ask you what that word means as you were preparing for your final exam in your Art Appreciation 101 class, you would probably say it means to hold in high regard. If I were to ask you to define it after we had a discussion about the office of the President, you might say that it’s a term of respect—such as you may appreciate the office of the President even if you don’t appreciate the person in that office at the time.
Those three meanings of the word ‘appreciate’ are correct and proper in their context, but I think all three of them are extensions of another meaning. If I asked you to define the word just after you had made a financial investment, you would have told me that it means to increase in value. When I use the word ‘appreciate’, this is the definition I mean most of the time because I think all the definitions are just different facets of this definition.
When I tell you, "I appreciate you,” what I’m saying is that, “You have increased my value. I’m more valuable as a person because of some investment that you’ve made in me.” Therefore, you appreciate (increase in value) me.
Think about your own interactions with other people. As our lives touch other people’s lives each of us is affected in at least some small way. The effect may be positive or negative (it may be neutral, but I think that’s incredibly rare). If one person considers an interaction to be a positive thing, then that person has increased in value—he may be a little happier, may feel more energized, may feel more relaxed, may feel more empowered, etc… If the interaction is seen as negative by one person, then the net result is that the person feels his or her value has depreciated—she may feel a little more sad, may feel more angry, may feel more hurt, etc… I say that neutral encounters are rare because even simple eye-contact or a smile while passing someone on a sidewalk could have a net positive effect–and the absence of eye contact or a smile could have a net negative effect.
How would our world change if we saw every interaction with every other human being—either directly or indirectly—as an investment in that person? An investment that either increases or decreases his or her value? Hmmm… Now there’s a thought to ponder for a while!
So, when I say, “I appreciate you,” or “I appreciate you inviting me to lunch,” or “I appreciate you praying for me,” (or any other time I use the word appreciate) what I’m really saying is you’ve made an investment in me and the investment you’ve made has increased my value. ‘Appreciate’ becomes a term for expressing gratitude only when I recognize that you have made an investment in me and that investment has increased my personal value.
When you tell me you appreciate something I’ve done, something I’ve said, something I’ve written, something I’ve created, or some quality about me, what I’m hearing is the ching-ching of your internal self-image-cash-register indicating that I’ve made some investment in you and that it has had a positive result. You’re telling me, “You appreciate me.”
I appreciate you reading this blog post. What I mean is that my personal value has increased because you invested your time in reading the words I’ve written. You do appreciate me—and for that, I’m very grateful.
There’s a never ending cycle here. As you invest in me, I invest in you, you invest in me, and the cycle goes on and on.
See? I told you so. You appreciate (increase in value) me!