6 Ways To Better Appreciate The People Around You
Wherever you are in life, you interact with people daily. Whether it be your family, coworkers, customers, or the cashier at your local grocery store, communicating with people each day is essential. There are some people that we get excited to see each day. They bring joy to our lives, and we enjoy spending time chatting, catching up and reminiscing.
There are also people we encounter each day that make our load heavier. Sometimes it’s a coworker with a constant negative attitude or the woman that cuts you off in her Mercedes as you make your way home from a long day at the office. Interactions such as these can ruin an entire day. Here are some helpful tips to begin to appreciate others around you:
1. Understand the “why.” The first step to appreciating those around you is to understand why they do what they do. Every single person does what makes sense to them, including you. When you see someone being rude or crazy, they are simply doing what makes sense to them. You go throughout your day making decisions and acting in a way that seems right to you, and so do others. That means that your second cousin stole that last piece of pie because it made sense to her, and your boss gave a younger employee a promotion over you because it made sense to him.
The disconnect comes when people do things that make sense to them, but they don’t make sense or seem right to you. You can gain a broader perspective by understanding that while you may not know exactly why a friend is particularly annoying to you today, they are doing what makes sense to them.
2. Be positive. One of the best things you can do when working with difficult people is to remain positive. Many times negativity is fueled off of drama, and certain people flock to this kind of reaction. When you respond harshly to someone, you will only end up hurting them (because they were only doing what made sense to them), or you will feed into the drama they are looking for.
A positive attitude helps you become more successful, and you will enjoy your life a lot more if you’re looking at it through a glass half-full! By responding positively and politely you can stop many annoyances before they get worse.
3. Look to the interests of others. Start spending your day less “me-focused” and instead start looking for ways to encourage and help others. By expanding your view of the day into more than just MY drive to work, MY grocery list, MY workout at the gym, or MY favorite show, you can begin to better appreciate others around you. Look for ways to help others. Instead of avoiding those people who rub you the wrong way, find ways that you can make their day better. This will not only improve their life but yours as well.
4. Tell them. If you appreciate a certain quality of a friend, or someone did something particularly meaningful for you, let them know. It will encourage them and make them feel appreciated, but it will also help you to notice all the good things around you. You can even make a list of the things you appreciate about someone and give it to them to brighten their day. Watch for times when people do something nice or handled a situation admirably, and jump at opportunities to encourage someone because of it. This also has the side benefit of giving you a more positive outlook on life!
5. Learn from it. Of course you will run into unpleasant people throughout your life, but it shouldn’t leave you bitter and unhappy. If you examine bad situations, you can often find something to learn. Difficult people can often bring out the worst in us – traits we didn’t even know we had. But we can appreciate the situation, because now we know something we can work on improving in ourselves.
Sometimes you can find truth in criticisms, too, even if the surrounding insults are untrue and unnecessary. Focus on what you can learn in every situation, and even the worst ones can have beneficial results. That doesn’t mean it will be pleasant, but it will help you gain something from the experience and also appreciate that person a little more because of it.
6. Be kind. Rather than snapping at the person in front of you at the checkout line for verifying prices on everything, hold your tongue. Smile. This person might be really struggling for money, and your disdain won’t make them feel any better about themselves for having to make sure everything fits perfectly into their tight budget.
If your coworker took the last of the coffee as you were walking toward the break room, simply make some more. Don’t leave it for someone else to do and stew over the injustice. People might not always deserve for you to be kind to them, but neither do you, and you don’t appreciate when people are unkind to you (even when you deserve it). Be kind whether they deserve it or not! By creating an environment of kindness, you’re also setting an example for those around you. Eventually your influence could spread to the people around you until you are all treating each other kindly.
Learning to work with people in a positive way is a skill that will benefit you no matter what you do or where you are. Once you have made these six practices a part of your everyday routine, you will finally begin to appreciate others around you. Even the difficult ones!
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