Appreciation by Default

Look for the Good.

Look for what you like.

Look for what you what you Appreciate.

There is always something to celebrate!

Look for the good everywhere.

These statements could have been pulled from the script of any self-help guru.

(Of which I have studied many!)  I love reading those statements.  Even when they pop up on your Facebook feed, scrawled over a picture of a beautiful moonlit lake, or on a clever photo showing a basket of puppies!

Look for the good everywhere.

Look for what you what you Appreciate!

Sounds wonderful, right?  But it’s not so easy to approach life that way, now is it?

In fact, it feels really unnatural.

Actually, it seems that our normal habit is to do just the opposite.  Its seems more natural, and therefore much easier to complain… to look for the bad… and to look at life critically.

It seems so much more normal to be critical, that complaining feels like it’s our default perspective for the world.  It just feels natural to criticize and complain about life!

I mean, just poke around online.  Just listen to the media.  All the cool kids are complaining.  All the most popular twitter-heads know that being critical is where it’s at!

But when all is said and done (critically), why does it feel so awful afterward?

I mean sure, it may feel cool to have a real clever and critical dig at someone or something… to show off to you followers, to showboat to your posse just how Smart you are.  It can be exhilarating to demonstrate how pious you can shriek.  How effectively you can pit your sideagainst them, the “wrong” side of the aisle.   Yeah, you can mouth off and pontificate to your crew all of the criticisms that you have cleverly figured out, and just rattle off all of the things you see that are wrong.

It may feel thrilling for a minute…

But let me ask you this:  Why do you think you feel so exhausted?

Why do you think you feel so on edge, and… I’m gonna guess… so unnerved all of the time?

Well,  I’ve got a theory about why that is…

It’s because you are bringing ALL of that caca doo-doo right to you by constantly talking about the negative aspects you are seeing!

So…

What seems normal by default is to complain.  And yet it feels awful.

It’s cool, but it brings all of the crap right to you.

And yet all of those Self-Help, cheerleader, deliberately appreciating, bumper sticker phrases that I first listed here… phrases like Look for the Good… justfeel so awkward and unnatural.

But when you’re in that appreciating mode, they also just feel so WONDERFUL!

I really thought about that phenomenon lately.  And I decided that I wanted to feel wonderful, even if it seemed unnatural.

And I realized that if it feels unnatural, then I needed to simply look at my default perspective.  I needed start at “ground zero” of my behaviour, and then develop a new habit of Appreciation!

Actually I have to give credit to Oprah.   I mean we all should really.

It was from Oprah Winfrey that I learned all about developing an Attitude of Gratitude!

She keeps a Gratitude journal, daily listing all of the things she is grateful for.  And that girl has some incredible things to be grateful for!

So prompted by Oprah, and wanting to develop my own Attitude of Gratitude, I actively started a practice where I would begin each morning listing as many things I could think of that I appreciate in my life.

My cozy bed.

My wonderful home.

Fresh coffee in the morning, already made by my wonderful roommate!

My morning meditation practice.

These are examples of things that I’m grateful for.  But more than that, they are blessings that I Appreciate.

Now another of my personal luminaries, the sublime Abraham Hicks, makes a point about Gratitude.  They caution that when you say “I’m grateful” for something, that there is usually an implication that you are thankful for it despite the opposite.  And they offer instead, that when you think of what you appreciate, that it’s more of a pure positive emotion.

Personally I’m all for both gratitude and appreciation, as long as with thinking of gratitude that you keep your intention purely on the positive aspect, and not on what you are grateful for despite… whatever.

I get Abraham’s point, as they only want to advise the easiest way to get into that high vibration, that being in appreciation or high gratitude can bring you.

And that’s what I have been looking to cultivate for myself in my life.

So, I have a journal (actually a series of journals at this point), that I reach for each morning upon awakening.  And with that, while still in bed, I list all of the things I love about my life.

In the evening, I also list all of the things that I loved about my day in that very same journal, right before I nod off to sleep.  (Needless to say, that journal and I are very intimate, and can often be found all twisted up in my comforter!!)

And you know what?  Life keeps getting better and better for me, the more I point myself towards thinking in terms of Appreciation.

Of course, I had those paragons of right living to look up to in Oprah and Abraham Hicks… but honestly, I think I learned mostly through experience.  I learned about this by trial and error.

You see, not too long ago life wasn’t so great for me.  Not by a long shot.  I could sit you down and easily list all of my complaints about how awful life really was.

Can you relate?

Yep… As if by Law –  contrary to the high vibration of appreciation, is the low vibration of criticism.

Story time:

Not too long ago, I had a really close friend who seemed to feel that it was important to criticize almost everything in his path.  He’s a brilliant artist, very talented… and for some reason he decided that a part of being an artist was to view the world through a critical eye.

You know how you become like the people you spend the most time with? Well, being so close to him, I quickly developed a bad habit myself of looking for what was wrong, and how to criticize it.  And when you have that as your set point, well then you start seeing ALL the wrongs in just about everything you see.

And thanks to a little Universal Law called the Law of Attraction, I also attracted all sorts of hyper- critical folks in my life.  Soon, it was not just my talented friend, but a whole crew of complainers that popped up into my life!

Suddenly I found myself stuck working at my job with a team of people who exhibited some of the most terrifically negative viewpoints that I had ever seen!  As I practiced looking for what was wrong, I actually attracted a work situation where I got to interact, day to day, with a team of people who — before my very eyes — would CREATE problems, only so that they could then COMPLAIN about the existence of the problem.  Pretty awesome manifesting right?!  Oh it got even juicier!

They would then COMPLAIN about the people they were complaining to!

Criticism for everyone!!

Channelling my girl Oprah here, it’s like they were all:

YOU GET A SCATHING CRITIQUE, 

AND YOU GET A SCATHING CRITIQUE, 

EVERYONE GETS A SCATHING CRITIQUE!!    

And it didn’t just stop at my coworkers.  It seems that everything I read online, or watched on TV, was also about either complaining and criticizing, or doing things that I felt the need to criticize and complain about!

I was really feeling awful, which I started to suspect was meant as alarm bells for me.  I personally believe that when you feel bad emotions, that those hard emotions are warning signals from God -the Universe -your Heart, telling you to pay attention, and change course!

Even further (and much more mystical) was that I started having visions of that team of complainers as not really being people, but instead as walking, talking Cancers.

That’s what they are.  They are a cancer.

That vision made me realize that I needed to pull out of this complaining game before that cancer ate me up!

One of them in particular, the one that I consider to be the “ring leader”, is such an effectively negative and criticizing angry little cuss, that any time I’ve seen her, she is actually red faced.  She’s so talented at playing this angry, critical, negative, game, that to interact with her, you find yourself getting angry and just wanting to OUT ANGER her, as if in a competition.  Who’s the hottest little cuss?!?

That’s her game, and I fell right for it.  The problem was, I sucked at it.  She’s much better.

Luckily, before too long, I realized that I cannot fight criticism with criticism.  It just inflames the negativity, and feels horrible.  Like I said earlier, it feels horrible because that is the message from your heart, letting you know that you are pointed in the Wrong Direction.

So if being critical, and negative, and ANGRY is not the direction that will make me feel good, then I decided to start pointing in the opposite direction.

And I did that by simply starting a practice of listing things I loved each morning and each night.

When I wanted to complain, I would avert my attention, and double down on thinking of things I appreciated.  I would list the things I Loved.

And almost as if by magic, the major complainers in my life started disappearing.  They started moving on, and more importantly, they moved out of my life!

That talented, but chronically critical friend?  He moved on… almost too easily.

The hateful work crew?  Almost all gone now, except for that darn “ring leader”!  However she has less interaction with me these days.

I think that she’s there still around as a great warning for me.  I actually appreciate her now. (yeah, I’ve gotten that good at this whole appreciating thing)  But I appreciate her presence, as a grave cautionary tale.

She’s kind of fun to practice with, to see how I can stay above her heat seeking anger missiles, and not let them affect me.  She can still get a direct hit now and again, and bring me down.  But I’ve learned that I can bounce back up into a high vibration good mood, and much quicker now, thanks to my practice in seeking things to appreciate!

And eventually I know that I’ll give up the need to play this game with her.  This game I play to prove my positive outlook that way.   When that happens, when I’m done with needing to prove myself as solid against her negativity, well then, that is when I’m confident she will disappear also, along with the others before her.

So, in addition to starting my day and ending my nights with listing the positive aspects in my life, I also now play a new, and really fun game all day long.  I look around and point out all of the things that I appreciate in any given setting.  At the gym, at the store, in traffic, I look for what I appreciate.

Sometimes I’ll remember my old habit and think about how I would have criticized some dude’s clothes, or how terrible someone is driving… and then I’ll catch myself, and turn it around to look for someone’s shoes I think are great, or how cute someone looks as they’re singing alone to themselves to Ariana Grande in the car next to me…  Anyway you get the point.  It’s a fun game, and it can be miracle for your life.

Complaining can make life Hell on Earth for you.

Appreciating can make you so happy that you feel like you’re in Heaven.

Abraham Hicks says: 

A state of appreciation is pure connection to source where there is no perception of lack.  

I resonate with that statement.

I also can tell you that complaining makes you feel so cut off from God, so blocked from abundance. Can’t you see that the more you complain, the worse that you feel?   And then it just adds to more negative aspects that you have to complain about, until you just feel lost?

That despairing feeling can drive you crazy.

Eckhart Tolle has said:  

When you complain you make yourself a victim.  Leave the situation.  Change the situation or accept it, all else is madness.”

Adding to that point, Byron Katie says:

If I think You’re my problem, I’m insane.

(in other words if you think the other is the problem, and you complain about it, well, then it’s like what Eckhart and Katie say – you are just making yourself LOCO Crazy!)

Heaven or Hell,

Madness or Sanity (notice how “Mad” is a synonym for angry?…)

Complaining or Appreciating.

Both perspectives I’ve learned are habits that you train yourself into.

And that you do it either by default, or deliberately.

Both habits are very powerful in attracting experiences, people, and things to you.

So which habit do you want to live?

I’ll leave you with this question:

Whether you cultivate it deliberately or by default;

when it comes to the circumstances you attract for your life,

in the end, de fault is all yours!

Default!  Get it!

(Oh didn’t you know that I’m also gifted at crafting corny jokes! 😉

I so appreciate you!

There is much love here for you,

FoxZM

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