You appreciate me! Seriously. You do. Whether you know it or not. You appreciate me. In fact, youâ€™re doing it right now. Youâ€™re appreciating me right now! The truth is, you appreciate me far more than youâ€™ll probably ever even know.
If youâ€™ve continued to read to this second paragraph, youâ€™re probably thinking, Who is he to tell me what or who I appreciate? In fact, I donâ€™t appreciate him telling me I appreciate him. F@&$%#ing Jerk!
Let me explainâ€¦
The way you define the word â€˜appreciateâ€™ varies depending on your mindset at the time. Unless youâ€™re a really negative person most of the time, if I were to ask you what the word â€˜appreciateâ€™ means, your first thought would probably be thatâ€™s itâ€™s an expression of gratitudeâ€”and I wouldnâ€™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 itâ€™s a term of respectâ€”such as you may appreciate the office of the President even if you donâ€™t appreciate the person in that office at the time.
Those three meanings of the word â€˜appreciateâ€™ 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 â€˜appreciateâ€™, 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,â€ what Iâ€™m saying is that, â€œYou have increased my value. Iâ€™m more valuable as a person because of some investment that youâ€™ve made in me.â€ Therefore, you appreciate (increase in value) me.
Think about your own interactions with other people. As our lives touch other peopleâ€™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 thatâ€™s incredibly rare). If one person considers an interaction to be a positive thing, then that person has increased in valueâ€”he may be a little happier, may feel more energized, may feel more relaxed, may feel more empowered, etcâ€¦ If the interaction is seen as negative by one person, then the net result is that the person feels his or her value has depreciatedâ€”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 beingâ€”either directly or indirectlyâ€”as an investment in that person? An investment that either increases or decreases his or her value? Hmmmâ€¦ Now thereâ€™s a thought to ponder for a while!
So, when I say, â€œI appreciate you,â€ or â€œI appreciate you inviting me to lunch,â€ or â€œI appreciate you praying for me,â€ (or any other time I use the word appreciate) what Iâ€™m really saying is youâ€™ve made an investment in me and the investment youâ€™ve made has increased my value. â€˜Appreciateâ€™ 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 Iâ€™ve done, something Iâ€™ve said, something Iâ€™ve written, something Iâ€™ve created, or some quality about me, what Iâ€™m hearing is the ching-ching of your internal self-image-cash-register indicating that Iâ€™ve made some investment in you and that it has had a positive result. Youâ€™re telling me, â€œYou appreciate me.â€
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 Iâ€™ve written. You do appreciate meâ€”and for that, Iâ€™m very grateful.
Thereâ€™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!