Woman loving life while listening to music

Mastering the Art of Appreciation

An excerpt from Loving Out Loud by Robyn Spizman.

While it can be easy to feel like it is impossible to make a positive difference in these divisive times, the new book Loving Out Loud: The Power of a Kind Word by New York Times bestselling author Robyn Spizman promises that our words can go a long way in that regard, especially when we share them out loud.

Loving Out Loud offers readers creative ideas and practical insights for cultivating kindness in their lives while connecting more deeply with the world around them. The book is divided into chapters that provide readers with powerful ways for raising kinder children; loving their significant others, family, and friends; and valuing teachers, coworkers, and everyone in between. We hope you will enjoy this excerpt from the book.

Loving out loud begins with an awareness of what’s “right” around you. What’s right in your world and in your life, versus what’s wrong? If you look for the negative, you’ll find it. Focus on the good and the positive.

Appreciate the Positives in Your Life

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, shy or outgoing, it’s possible to appreciate others out loud. The world needs introverts and extroverts. Consider this an invitation to notice the good in others. When you do so, your blessings will float to the top. Begin with bite-size moments of gratitude, and find ways to appreciate out loud the actions of others.

Everyone loves a compliment, which is a powerful motivator to express your appreciation. We usually think of a compliment as words that make us feel good (“You are such a fascinating person”) or an observation about someone’s personality or appearance (“That shade of pink lipstick looks beautiful on you”).

While compliments are certainly meaningful when sincerely given, go one step further and shift your perspective from giving compliments to giving gratitude. Infuse your compliment with it. Think of your kind words as mastering appreciation, which is the meaningful, magnetic ability to make what you say stick. Recently my six-year-old granddaughter Dani overhead a compliment my husband gave me. She noticed how good it made me feel, smiled, and asked me if he went to compliment school.

The art of appreciation lets another person know what they are doing right, how much they matter, or what you notice about them that’s special (“I really value the way you take the time to make sure my car tires are filled correctly; thank you for caring about my safety”). It ties the compliment into their actions and ices the cake with how you feel.

Your words of appreciation are like a boomerang returning kindness to you in a multitude of ways. When words are said without ulterior motive or the expectation of something in return, they come across as sincere and filled with good intentions. The receiver is more likely to believe them, as you do, and in turn your LOL acknowledgment affects them in a heartfelt way.

Personally, I appreciate the smallest acts of caring and a kindhearted spirit. A generous compliment, pure in motive, sincere in intent, echoes in my mind and keeps me afloat. Heart-to-heart compliments can turn someone’s day around or start it off with a smile. That’s remarkable stuff and highly underestimated!

How to Give a Loving Out Loud (LOL) Compliment

When sharing a compliment, infuse it with your appreciation for the person. Here are some ways to get in touch with that sentiment and validate others:

  • Consider what you truly like (and appreciate) about the person: “I think you are one of the friendliest people I know. I’d love to be more like you.”
  • Think of things you admire about them: “I am in awe of the attention you give to details.”
  • Zero in on something that makes someone feel special: “Are you aware of what a thoughtful friend you are to me?”
  • When focusing on physical traits, be creative: “When you wear that shade of blue, your eyes are sky-blue beautiful.”
  • Make observations about why someone is unique: “I absolutely love listening to you. Your stories are so interesting.”
  • Think of your words of gratitude as a thank-you gift: “My day is now perfect thanks to your thoughtful [birthday, anniversary, etc.] wishes!”

While at the post office, I thanked the kindhearted postal worker for his help as he advised me on the fastest way to send a package. He replied with a remark that really felt good: “You have such a generous spirit.” I thought for a moment how to show my gratitude for his kind words, putting my stamp of approval on his attention, and said with a smile, “Return to sender.”

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Written by Robin Spizman

Explore Wellness in 2021