Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Appreciation-to-Criticism Ratio, 5:1

I came home from a recent workshop and announced, "Hey, Doug, I would like for you to appreciate me for something..."

"What's that, Dear?" was his reply.

"No..." I explained. "I want you to come up with something on your own that you appreciate about me." *cheesy grin*

"You want me to make something up?!" he replied, sounding a little confused and looking concerned.

"Could it be that hard?!" I retorted. And we both laughed.  *

In a recent yoga teacher workshop, our teacher mentioned a Harvard study that determined the optimum ratio of appreciation to criticism is 5:1 as a guideline for motivating groups of people and sustaining healthy personal relationships. Five to one! So for every one criticism you dish out, you might want to consider following up with at least five statements of appreciation to balance it out.

Side note: I'll take this time to disclose that the final paragraph of the article I've linked to explains that the results of the study are flawed and bla, bla, bla. I still like the idea behind it, hence my blog post today.

Our teacher talked about appreciation vs. criticism and how that can relate to each of us personally. "How many times a day," he challenged, "do we criticize ourselves? And then we never follow up with what we appreciate about ourselves to balance it out?"

Eh-hm. Guilty.

It seems like every where I look these days there are articles promoting self-love and self-acceptance. And if you haven't noticed them yourself, well, maybe it's just me and I'm being gifted with those articles because it's what I need to pay attention to right now. I decided to be more mindful with my personal appreciation-to-criticism ratio.

On my drive to work yesterday morning I challenged myself to list (and say out loud) five things I appreciate about myself. How hard could that be, right? Just five things?

"I appreciate that I always do my best in whatever I take on."
"I appreciate that I'm a kind and caring yoga teacher."
"I appreciate my smile."
"I appreciate that I freely express appreciation to others."
"I appreciate that I'm an excellent driver."

Phew. It was tough! I typed them out pretty fast here, but it took me a while to come up with those five things. Clearly I need more practice, and that's what I intend to do.

In the meantime, I'll keep expressing my appreciation to others every chance I get! To the Starbucks employee: "Thanks for the cheerful customer service this morning. I appreciate that!" To my yoga student who removed the giant spider from the corner of the classroom the other night: "I appreciate that you did that, James. Thanks so much!" And to Doug: "I appreciate your hard work in the backyard, Honey. It's going to be amazing, thanks to you!"

Your challenge, should you accept it, is to express appreciation to at least three different people today. It just might make their day, and it will enhance yours for the better! And while you're at it, check off at least five things you appreciate about yourself, today and every day.

I sure do appreciate that you visit my blog and read my words.
* Doug said he appreciates that I keep our house organized and that I make it such a nice place for us to call home. Good answer.


Patio Postcards said...

Wonderful post. Ah yes that negative chatter in our heads. I gave appreciation freely today in a job review I was conducting for a staff member & I gave appreciation to our boss for approving raises & I thanked the two ladies at Costco who bagged up my items. When Mr Man gets home tonight I will give him lots of appreciation. Which I think ties to another article I recently read. It talked about how we feel love. Some people need gifts, some need words, etc. to feel loved.

I appreciate you writing so many thought/feeling good blog posts. I appreciate your smile.

helena said...

I appreciate that you share real life with us on your blog
I appreciate your passion for mandalas
I appreciate your joy in sunflowers
I appreciate your eye for a good photo
I aprpeciate your practical suggestion on how to use the ideas of a ratio of appreciation to criticism

Karen said...

Like the others, I appreciate all your thoughtful, caring posts. This is definitely a favorite. I try hard to express my appreciation, but I think I'm more apt to be more mindful of it with people outside the family. Reminds me not to take all I love about them for granted.

Beverly said...

I am very good at appreciating others but ummm that self appreciating thing is hard!

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