Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Need For Appreciation Is Normal

Human Expectations

“The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”
Abraham Maslow [1908-1970];

One of the greatest disappointments that parents often point out is that they have not gained sufficient appreciation from their children from what they have done toward their upbringing. Evolutionists call it parental investment, and like all investments the ones doing the investing—the investors—expects some return.

It sounds less than noble, and yet it’s very real. I can’t think of anyone who does not want appreciation for an act done, or in the case of most parents, multiple acts done over at least two decades, or more. Can you?

And yet, if appreciation cannot come from outside, we might have to find it from within, as Maslow has indicated. This might not seem as satisfying as getting our strokes of recognition considered due to us, but it is often a good way of being. Truly, there is too much disingenuous flattery given for the wrong reasons; it does not have the same effect if the compliment, recognition or reward—all forms of appreciation—are all given in a false way, By false, I mean either undeserved or unwillingly, namely, delivered for other than from the heart.

We recognize when this is so; humans, for the most part, have the capacity to sift through sincere appreciation and false ones, often delivered as a form of flattery for some other ulterior purpose  While we all like, to some degree, greater in some individuals than others, to receive appreciation for what we have done, we also would like it to be genuine. Often this is not the case. Grasping for recognition, fishing for compliments, if you will, is both ill-advised and an ugly sight to behold; it lacks human dignity. It is also tiring to find yourself in the presence of such persons.

Ideally, the recognition and appreciation will come. But until that takes place, most of us will have to derive satisfaction from an internal spot within, meeting an intrinsic need. This might not provide the extrinsic rewards that many of us desire, but it might as Maslow pointed out, give us “the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.” 

Such things are harder to measure, notably in today’s society that places a value for almost everything of lesser intrinsic worth; such makes it, contrary to initial expectations, even more appealing and more rewarding. Surprise yourself.

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