I’ve always had trouble appreciating people. I’ve also always had trouble accepting compliments and “Thank you”s. Over time, I’ve conditioned myself to respond with a “Thank you” and a smile to every compliment no matter what it is. If it really means something to me I also won’t be able to stop myself from blushing while thanking you. I’ve also conditioned myself to respond to a “Thank you” with a “You’re welcome”. This has led me to say “You’re welcome” in many awkward situations. Such as when my manager said “Thanks for coming in for this talk.” or when a friend’s mom said “Thank you for coming for the wedding.” I’m slowly learning that some “Thank you”s need to be responded to with another “Thank you”.
When it comes to appreciating people and their work, I wouldn’t be able to tell someone straight up that I thought what they did was awesome until recently. I felt that I should give an honest unbiased opinion to people. This is probably what my checklist for appreciating something would have been:-
- Do not get carried away in the feeling of the moment. Refrain from saying something if you won’t feel the same way the next day.
- Compare it with the best it could possibly be and comment on it accordingly. Superlatives should be saved for things that truly deserve them otherwise they won’t mean as much when they’re really needed
- Do not sound like you’re flattering the person.
- If it’s been said by many people already then there’s probably no point in saying it again.
For all these reasons, compliments from me were hard to come by. When I really liked something I’d say it and it would mean a lot and everything would work out fine. However there have been too many times when I really liked something but I said nothing about it. I’d regret saying nothing a little bit but I’d still continue doing it. As I learnt over time how good it feels and how important it is to have someone appreciate you I figured that the points on my appreciation-checklist are unnecessary because:-
- If something’s awesome in the moment then there’s nothing wrong with saying that it’s awesome right then.
- Superlatives don’t need to be used that sparingly and I can use extreme phrases to describe something if I like it that much because it turns out that I’m articulate enough to come up with more extreme phrases when I need them.
- I should stop worrying what I sound like.
- What’s more important is that if someone’s done something awesome, they deserve to feel good about it for a while.
Another thing I’ve never been able to do is to vocally, whole-heartedly agree with someone’s opinion. I’d think, “If you’ve already said it then what’s the point in me saying it again.” and “If you think Richard Feynman is God then you probably believe that more than I do.” and “If you just said you love this song then I don’t want to take that away from you by telling you how much I love it.”
But the truth is that these reasons are stupid as well and it’s a warm feeling to share a genuine like or dislike for something with someone. When you share it, the thing that once existed only inside your head now has a meaning in the outside world as well.