There was a NY Times article written by the Dalai Lama HERE on 11/4 where he positions our current state of fear and anxiety around an epidemic of not feeling needed. He suggests that we begin each day asking ourselves, ‘what can I do today to appreciate the gifts others offer me?’
When I first read this, I found myself a little surprised since I was expecting him to say something like, ‘what can I do today to be useful to others?’ I realized that ‘my version’ requires others to actually value what I have to offer in the first place, which is completely out of my control, so of course the question he offers comes first! If people don’t practice recognizing what someone else brings to the table, then that person won’t get the feedback of appreciation which leads to feeling needed or useful.
To be honest, a wave of relief came after this realization because I can completely 100% shift my attitude toward appreciating the acts of generosity or kindness offered to me each day. A peek into my head: You mean, I don’t have to MAKE someone see that who I am or what I do has value? I can just appreciate what you do, and if enough of us practice this, then we each benefit and ultimately feel needed and valued? Deep down, I know I can’t control what others feel about me or my actions, but I can control my own response toward others and their actions. The pleaser in me relaxed as the spotlight went onto something I absolutely can do…yet it is a practice that is easily overlooked.
In honor of cultivating this practice of feeling appreciation toward others, I am offering a heart opening practice where you repeat the following phrases in formal meditation or throughout your day to increase your awareness of the opportunities to experience joy and appreciation.
May I learn to appreciate the happiness and joy I experience.
May the joy I experience continue and grow.
May I be filled with gratitude and non-attached appreciation.
For me, this practice turns my radar ON to noticing what actually IS in my life that I have to be joyful about. It allows me to recognize and practice acknowledging when someone does something kind, not only for me, but for another. It trains my brain to see the positive or the good in something or someone.
What we practice, we become. Let this practice of appreciative joy be of service to all beings.