Let’s be honest. “Normally” most of us are incredible complainers. When things don’t go our way, when we feel slighted or ignored, when someone doesn’t meet our expectations, we don’t have a problem in letting them know. Generally, we’ll let anyone know that is willing to listen.
This has been anything but a “normal” year. Loss of employment for many, loss of freedoms and choices for all, topped with isolation, has magnified and intensified feelings.
While it is good to expect things to go your way and desire recognition, the problem is when things turn out as expected, when we are the recipient of kindness and thoughtfulness, too often it is taken for granted.
It’s like looking at a child’s report card filled with “A’s” and your attention is drawn to the one “C.” It’s like getting your car washed and only noticing the one spot that was missed. Our attention is naturally drawn to the exceptions not the expectations.
I encourage you to take a few moments of reflection and self-awareness. How are your interactions going? Are the people around you aware of the things that are bothering and irritating you? Do you let others know what is out of place or not working? Are you spending equal or more time sharing your gratitude and appreciation for what is going right? Are you acknowledging the efforts and contributions of others? What is your appreciation-to-criticism ratio? Would others agree with your assessment?
It doesn’t matter the environment. It can be at work, home, or in social settings, most people feel under appreciated. Like everything else, there is a label for it. It is called “Gratitude Deficit Disorder.” If you suffer from a need for genuine appreciation and/or positive recognition, it’s likely you are suffering from Gratitude Deficit Disorder.
Regardless of where you live, you are not immune to Gratitude Deficit Disorder. It is a global epidemic.
Across all cultures, all continents, and all occupations, it is more common to be recognized for your mistakes than you are for your accomplishments.
If you think back to your own self-assessment, if you’re more likely to voice displeasure and remain silent when things go as expected, you can understand why Gratitude Deficit Disorder is a global epidemic.
While social media, political parties, and governments around the world, want to emphasize our differences, this is an area where we share sameness. We all want to know that we matter. We want to know our efforts and contributions are recognized. We all want to be appreciated. We all receive more grief than gratitude. We all deserve better.
To positively impact our environments, to minimize or eliminate the Gratitude Deficit Disorder among those we interact with, I want to share two steps to start the process. These steps will help all of us get what we desire and deserve.
Lead by example. Before we can expect others to do better, we must do better. What have those around you done that you are grateful for? Who’s done a little extra for you? Who’s been there when you needed them? Who’s provided an unsolicited referral? Who’s volunteered to help you? Who’s picked up the phone when you needed to talk?
How many of these individuals know you are grateful for them? How many know how much you appreciate them?
While I believe the Gratitude Deficit Disorder is real, that individuals are craving appreciation, I don’t think the problem is a lack of gratitude. I think it is a lack of communication. If you could identify individuals that have helped you this year, professionally or personally, yet they may not know it; I don’t think it’s because you don’t appreciate them. I think it’s because you haven’t communicated your gratitude to them.
Between now and the end of the year, how can you communicate your appreciation? How can you help end the hunger for gratitude and appreciation among the people you know? How can you recognize people doing what is expected? How can you applaud good things from good people so that they can hear you?
Spend fifteen minutes now and make a list of people you want to express your gratitude towards. Then create an action plan to communicate your appreciation.
Get others to focus on sharing gratitude. In staff meetings, I always include “staff recognition” as an agenda item. I want to give staff time to recognize the efforts of others and their contributions to our operations. This helps them to be on the lookout for things to be grateful for.
In my relationship journal, You Are a Gift, I encourage each writer to focus on one relationship for a year. In just a few minutes a day, the writer journals about one thing he/she is grateful for about a specific individual. While looking for something each day to be grateful for in a relationship, the writer discovers things to be grateful for in other areas of life.
In discussions ask individuals who they are grateful for. Ask who has helped them recently and if they expressed their gratitude. Help individuals become aware of their gratitude and encourage them to express it openly and freely.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
Take Action Today!
If you would like assistance with giving and receiving appreciation, I can help you. We can meet by phone, on Zoom, or in a place you deem safe with social distancing. Whether you choose me or someone else, a coach will expedite your results.
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Published by Bryan M. Balch, Results Coach
Helping Individuals and Businesses Achieve Desired Results
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.com
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