“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
A quote that we would think of every time we realize something we took for granted is gone.
We can try to remind ourselves to not take certain people and things for granted as often as we can, but it’s almost part of human nature to take some thing or someone for granted.
It isn’t necessarily your fault since we can only focus on so many things and so many people simultaneously. So how can we “split” ourselves into a dozen to give everything and everyone the attention they deserve?
It’s simple: you just need to have one mentality and attitude of appreciation.
It took me awhile to decipher how I can cherish someone and/or something without the constant reminder. To be fair, I even need someone’s action to trigger such reminder. I’ll even admit that I needed that person to occasionally do or say something nice for me to remind me how wonderful he/she is.
It all circles back to the famous saying and mentality we were psychologically ingrained in: treat someone like you want to be treated. This was the mentality that we were taught with to respect others. It made perfect sense to me until I got older, and I couldn’t help but to wonder: so is it all a rock paper scissors game on who’s going to treat you better first, then you’ll return the favor? Shouldn’t we learn to appreciate someone before he/she remind us with words or actions?
You might be thinking, what if that person really doesn’t deserve it?
Trust me, I’ve asked myself this question repeatedly each time I get disappointed by the people I care about with their actions. We are creatures of love, hearts and feelings, thus we can be hurt by others’ words and actions. Even if we decide to continue giving kindness to someone who doesn’t deserve it, we often end up making this about them, rather than ourselves. The saying of “kindness kills” doesn’t necessarily describe how great our kindness can extend, but how this is more about a personal gratification, of making that person feel bad by being kind to him/her, rather than pure kindness for the sake of it.
This is how we develop disappointment and sadness by having that kind of expectations on others, whether you’re “killing them with kindness” or “treat them the way you want to be treated”, you are expecting something in return.
The more depressing part is that we were taught to expect something out of a person or a thing in order to be appreciative. What if we just appreciate things and people for what and who they are, whether or not they have impacted our lives? The appreciation doesn’t have to involve a bouquet of flowers or a nice meal – it is simply a mentality.
By having the mentality to appreciate, you don’t need to constantly remind yourself and stress on how you can show your appreciation. A dinner? Flowers? A trip? You’ll notice that these things will just flow naturally with positive energy.
Similarly, we wouldn’t even expect others to behave a certain way or offer extravagant gestures as reminders to tell us to appreciate them. No one owes anyone anything. You shouldn’t treat someone nicely because you expect him/her to treat you the same. Treat them nicely because you appreciate him/her as another person in this world, because you love and spreading positive energy makes you a happier person.
So whether you appreciate the wonderful spouse you have, the wonderful job you love, the amazing pet you have, the cozy house you live in, or down to something small and often overlooked, such as the clean water you have, there are so many things in your surroundings to be thankful for. Do things for others because you appreciate you life and the world, not because of them.
Remember, appreciation comes within you, not from others.