Appreciation – the most important habit.

There are five easy ways to participate in the appreciation game.

First, be appreciative of the life you have. Whatever it is, right here, right now, you have a life worth living. You are here because of your infinite wisdom and this is the life that’s yours. When we look at our lives with love, the love is returned. When we look with appreciation at ourselves, that is returned. It’s a straight shot from us to us.

Second, appreciate yourself. Start small. Can you smile? Do it. Make a list of the wonderful things you can do. Everyday review what you’ve done. Have you picked up something on the street and put it in the trash? Have you smiled at someone? Have you appreciated your dog, your cat, your child, your spouse, your friend. Do you love everything you call yours? Why not? They are a gift, from you to you.

Third, appreciate what’s outside you, what you see, feel, touch. All the music, books, movies that you can access – all for free if you need to. Do you know that other countries do not necessarily have libraries and lectures, old movies for their citizens for free? What great opportunities we have for personal development and enrichment and entertainment. Every municipality in this country offers great excursions at little or no cost into worlds beyond our immediate borders.

Which leads right to # four which is appreciating other people. People who share their knowledge and skills, their enthusiasm and hope with us. Slide shows, books, lectures, dances, theatre – the list is endless. There are people around us picking up trash, rescuing wildlife, reading to kids in schools, recording books on tape for people who have trouble with the written word. There are millions of great stories among us who are never on the nightly news. People who are great neighbors and friends, lovers who are kind, spouses who aren’t indifferent, friends who are true. Heads up! Check them out. Pay attention to what is right under your nose. Don’t walk by another person without smiling – unless you are in a place of danger – you know where you are and what’s the right action to take.

Fifth, take this opportunity to team yourself up with those around you. Once you start smiling you’ll find people drawn to you, you’ll start seeing how they are like you, how you fit in with them. You have to make an attempt to know them – if you still feel like you’re good and they’re idiots, you’re not listening to “them,” you’re not seeing “them.” If you truly see people for who they are you will see commonality and in a funny turnabout, you will see your own uniqueness. The more we concentrate on our feelings, motivations, the truth in us, the more we feel connected to those around us.

So, take a leap of faith. Be kind. Be generous. Start here, now, with the most important person you know – YOU!