Ming the Mechanic:
The power of appreciation

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 The power of appreciation2009-10-26 23:48
picture by Flemming Funch

appreciation a. favorable critical estimate. b. sensitive awareness; especially : recognition of aesthetic values. c. an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude.

It's a nice thing, appreciation. Problems, obstacles, issues, conflicts - they tend to start dissolving when appreciated.

I suppose I noticed it first when I had just learned NLP. I was working as a coach and therapist, and people would come in with such wonderful problems that somehow were quite easy to alleviate. OK, it is actually an NLP trick: to reframe a problem as an accomplishment. But what works is just as much that one honestly admires or appreciates the cleverness of people's problems.

The client comes in and says "I'm really depressed today" and I say "Cool! How did you do that?". OK, I've got to watch out to not be too enthusiastic, or our rapport would go out the window, but that's basically my attitude. I'm not going to feel sorry for them for feeling bad, starting to look all droopy myself, and then have them explain all the many sad and very compelling reasons why they're depressed. No, if we assume that they'd rather not feel depressed, I'd rather find out how they make themselves feel like that. I.e. what do they remember, what do they look at, what do they tell themselves, etc. There is usually an exact strategy there. And if we can find that, they can probably learn to feel something more useful.

But actually I don't even need to use any technique to make them discover that. Even if I just listened, while greatly appreciating what they're doing, it would tend to start dissolving. I mean, as opposed to listening while being all in agreement with the reality of their depression. Oh, it might still take some work, but things change much faster when you appreciate them.

Works the same with my own problems. If I think about them while agreeing that they're problems and they're hard to solve, then that's probably the case. If I look at them innocently and alertly, appreciating whatever I find, they usually don't stay the same for very long.

Most of the problems of the world are clever and complicated, but rather silly. I'm not saying they'll all go away by just looking at them in amused amazement, but they probably become easier to solve. And what really is the problem is usually what some people think and feel, not what really is there. It wouldn't be a problem for everybody on the planet to have enough food and clean water, if enough people felt a bit differently about it. The problem is mental, not a lack of resources.

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27 Oct 2009 @ 02:30 by mortimer : My Thankyou and greatest Gratitude
I just want to let the ruling class know how much i appreciate the intrepid plunder of humanity.

oh ya its dissolving already  

27 Oct 2009 @ 09:13 by susannahbe : I liked. . .
"I'd rather find out how they make themselves feel like that. I.e. what do they remember, what do they look at, what do they tell themselves, etc. There is usually an exact strategy there. And if we can find that, they can probably learn to feel something more useful."

Very useful, not to mention interesting. A much more useful approach - I hadn't thought about it exactly like that before but can see that it would be helpful.

Now, how do you stop the person becoming defensive and thinking that it is 'the issues' not their own reactions and responses?

Thanks for the food for thought. :-)  

27 Oct 2009 @ 09:58 by mortimer : own reactions and responses?
Good question.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 13:05 by mortimer : please don't shift the planet
For the most part there is nothing wrong with the peoples. If the good stewards would just leave well enough alone long enough, balance could be restored.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 13:12 by ming : Sustainable environments
The unsustainable environment was created by the mindsets and actions of people. It didn't just happen. Of course it is self-amplifying, like most things in the world. People who experience themselves as victims of a system they didn't create will still perpetuate it just as well as if they did it on purpose. And then they hide behind the safety of numbers, justifying what they do by the fact that everybody else is doing it too.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 13:17 by ming : Defensiveness
"Now, how do you stop the person becoming defensive and thinking that it is 'the issues' not their own reactions and responses?"

In part by not making them wrong. Blaming somebody for their reactions and responses doesn't work, as they usually don't know why they have them. But if one can succeed in making them notice how their reactions and responses come about, it is a different matter. If one actually has a conscious choice between being delighted or being depressed, and one knows how to do both, most people would choose being delighted, without having to be persuaded. One is usually defensive when one feels attacked for doing something one didn't really understand why one did in the first place.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 13:25 by mortimer : how to reach more individuals?
easy, free food. e.g. if I had a CD release party I would run an ad in the paper and offer free food.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 13:41 by mortimer : created by the mindsets
The gov is an extension of few people. And I don't see any friends hiding behind ad populum, quit the opposite. I am Native American. Thanks to boarding schools filled with catholic child molesters, my people have been forced towards assimilation. No hiding behind argumentum ad populum there.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 17:08 by mortimer : discernment

what the difference between 'reaction' and 'action'..?  

27 Oct 2009 @ 18:03 by ming : action
Action, I suppose, is when you decide to do something and then you do it. Whereas reaction is when something happens and you respond, possibly automatically and unconsciously. The typical implication is that reaction is kind of a bad thing and action is a good thing. That's of course a question of semantics, as some reactions are very sane, kind, needed and maybe life-saving, and some actions are self-serving, destructive and mean-spirited.  

27 Oct 2009 @ 23:29 by mortimer : reaction
Hard tell on the internet, face to face you can see the disposition in their eyes.

I worked with the list of systemic flaws and solutions last week. When the topic of "population problem" come up half the audience turned combative. Eventually they began making loud noises trying to silence me. Certainly was the most stimulating topic on the Sandorian list. These are good people Ming. The ruling class has mined the people and implanted the idea that there is population problem. Self-serving, destructive and mean-spirited is the symptom, pain is the cause.  

28 Oct 2009 @ 06:13 by Bob @ : sideways definition
Appreciation is important in all its forms. This observation with inquisitive interest is unusual and, I think, one of the funner ones. As I sit in the dentist's chair, I try to pay attention to the sensations, touch, sound, smell, appreciating it all. Same with the rare head-ache, which seems not to stand up well to such appreciation.

As with quicksand or thumblock puzzles, if you're ready to get out, break the suction or traction first. Just being there and observing, working it out slowly works far better than struggling against.

Nice post.  

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Other stories in
2012-01-01 00:20: New year wish
2009-10-27 23:59: Compassion Exercise
2008-02-21 13:04: A Samurai’s Creed
2008-02-20 15:38: Experiencing
2007-11-07 00:50: Say what you feel
2007-11-06 23:38: Steve Habib Rose
2007-06-21 19:16: How does one have a blogversation?
2007-06-20 21:53: Self-portraits
2007-06-15 16:26: Life instructions
2007-06-07 21:16: Creativity 100

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