"Appreciations are grace. Try not to chase them away."

Appreciations seem almost impossible to properly deliver. My mentors taught me that a proper appreciation must be delivered face-to-face and one-on-one. Group appreciations violate this first principle of principled appreciating. I know, before schooled, I'd felt nary a qualm when tossing off a quick group appreciation vaguely targeted at "you guys." However sincere my feelings, from the perspective of the receiver, I can understand how a certain depth of feeling might have seemed lacking. I find that it's not always logistically convenient to deliver a right and proper appreciation, like when I am in a group and I can't seem to leverage a moment of alone time to target my recipient person to person. Such logistical complications usually leave me failing to mention my appreciation at all, hoping that a flash of eye contact might serve as an adequate replacement. It never is.

I believe that most of the world's ills would be easily fixable if only we could openly talk about them without rancor.
If I could appreciate where you're coming from, I might work harder to more deeply understand where you're coming from and even agree to proceed forward along side you. I might appreciate from a distance, what we speak of as a "safe distance," without ever finding or creating opportunities to explicitly clue you in on how I feel. Curiously, I only rarely find opportunities to express appreciation to myself, and I'm better situated than anyone to both give and receive them. The Grammar of Appreciation seems simple enough, a declarative first person sentence naming the recipient and the appreciated element. David, I appreciate you for finally figuring out how to speak about Appreciations. An optional hug or handshake accompanied by a small return appreciation—a simple Thank You will always do— ends the appreciation transfer.

Social media presents more complicating factors. A short note of appreciation seems a universally welcomed gift, though I catch myself more often flipping off a quick thumbs up, and I don't think I've ever explicitly explained that I'm appreciating when I leave one of these. Under The Most Generous Interpretation Rule, I might too easily convince myself that my nuance gets received as I intended, but the implicitness of the symbol leaves huge room for doubt and confusion. Appreciations serve as warming agents in this cold and sometimes cruel world. If I cannot muster some explicit statement, I miss an opportunity to bring a little warmth and clear understanding into the world.

If I could, I'd stand up each one of the 224 people who have joined my PureSchmaltz Facebook Group and administer a properly personal appreciation, accompanied by at least an attempted hug, for I quietly and deeply appreciate your presence here. You serve as my sounding board, my thirteenth hour editor, my echo back out of the void, and my appreciator. Thank you. Though this appreciation violates the first principles of proper appreciating, it seems the best that I can muster with the resources I have at hand.

A brief note on the proper receipt of an appreciation. The Thank You intends to quickly fill the space that might otherwise contain an apology of sorts, or an explanation intended to deflect the appreciation's impact. To respond with a laconic It Was Nothing, demeans the whole exercise. If you feel embarrassed upon receipt, blush without completely disappearing. If you doubt that you deserve the appreciation, swallow your tongue and accept it anyway. Appreciations are first and always about the appreciator, not the recipient. They serve as clues about what must be going on inside of the one extending. Appreciations are grace. Try not to chase them away.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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