Hello, dear readers! Few years I was obsessed with the idea that I really want to learn more about psychology. No, not to learn in a professional way but just to understand myself and other people more. One of the things I remember very well reading about was motivation. More specifically, what is needed to keep us going. There were two main components – inner motivation and outer motivation. Inner motivation is the kind that makes you do something because you simply love it and want to become better at it. Outer motivation is something that we get from the world or people around us. It might be a paycheck, it might appreciation etc. In order to function properly, we need both of these motivation levels around the same level. If we lack one or the other, noticeable changes start to happen. Why am I writing about all of this? Because I noticed these changes happening in my own life but I didn’t know, how to explain it properly. That was until just few days ago when I picked up a book by Dale Carnegie, called “How to win friends and influence people”. First part of the book is called “Fundamental techniques in handling people”. The second principle of this part is “Give honest and sincere appreciation”. That’s when it hit me.
A sudden realization came over me: it’s shocking, how often we either confuse appreciation with flattery or forget about appreciation at all. I bet all of you more or less are familiar with the situation in which, if you do something bad or make a mistake, you get criticized (often way more than you should be) but when you do something good, no one says a word. I have faced this situation quite often since early childhood. When I was little and did something good for my parents, I rarely received true appreciation. It was either nothing or a simple “thank you”. Of course, I didn’t expect fireworks and medals but… could they at least be proud of me, be happy about me? Once I asked my mum, why isn’t she happy that I, for example, helped around the house without anyone asking me to and did she even notice. And she simply told me: “It’s great that you did that but I really don’t know what you expected. It is self-evident when a person does a good thing.” Now let’s take a completely opposite situation. I did something bad. Maybe told my parents that I will be studying while they’re away but sneaked out of the house to visit my best friend instead and got caught later. Do you think they were as calm as when I did something good? Not at all. Such a small “sin” caused a huge argument and there were times when one of my parents or even both of them didn’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Those are just childhood events but… there definitely was something wrong with them.
Let’s take another example! Let’s fast forward about 7 years later when I had been studying in musical school for few years. When I was a little kid, I often got praised for doing something very well in my guitar lessons. However, when “the crazy teenager age” came, things started to change. I started to have my own opinion about how I should play and how I shouldn’t play, what I liked and what I didn’t. That was when the conflicts started and I got scolded when I didn’t succeed but when I finally did something well, it was barely noticed, if at all. Those were just two examples from my own life but they can be applied to a person in every age group. The point is – we all feel the need to appreciated. Don’t confused it with flatter though. Flattery is insincere but appreciation is sincere. We need appreciation to move forward and keep doing great things. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are two types of motivation – inner and outer. Let’s say you have inner motivation, you are learning, how to paint and you love it. However, no matter, how much you try to “get your work” out there, no one really seems to care. They don’t buy your paintings, they don’t compliment them, all they do is take a look and leave. How would you feel? Well, maybe you wouldn’t care for the first day or week but later… You start to feel like you are not good at what you’re doing, there is no progress… So what’s the point of continuing to do this thing at all? You are left with two options then – you can give up or you can keep struggling. What I am trying to say with all of this?
Appreciation is important for everyone. If you see that someone has done something good, don’t hesitate to let them know. Sometimes it is incredibly hard to notice the results of your work yourself and sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you try, no one will appreciate it anyways. So don’t hesitate to express honest appreciation. It could change someone’s day, maybe even week or month. American philosopher John Dewey has said the deepest urge in human nature is a desire to be important. Appreciation makes us feel that way. So, go ahead and someone’s day today!
Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!
Love, Porcelain Doll.