Awura's March Reflection - The Value of Appreciation
Awura is the founder of Creative Women Collective, an ex-lawyer specialized in intellectual property and incredibly passionate about sparking courage in creative women. And fries. And Brené Brown. And podcasts.
Photo: Carly Wollaert
In my monthly reflections on www.thecreativewomencollective.com I will push myself to share an unfiltered review of my month. A look into the behind scenes of CWC without all of the (awesome) Inshot effects which we use (and love) in our Instagram Stories. Check out February's reflection here.
There is an immeasurable value in appreciating what you have.
Appreciation is like a river which never runs dry. Why? Because the more you appreciate the things, people and experiences in your life, the more their value increases. If you do not appreciate what you have, the value of the things/people/experiences decreases. This lack of appreciation will seep into your mindset, and consequently into your behaviour. Eventually you will amplify their “invaluableness” through your own actions. As a consequence you will take these things/people/experiences for granted.
When the things/people/experiences you have taken for granted disappear, their value boils to the surface.
We all know the feeling - which I would describe as a painful nostalgia - of wishing we could turn back time, to re-appreciate the happenings of the past. I have felt this feeling a zillion times. And while I am writing this blog, one particular experience comes to mind.
When I was nine years old, I started following regular classes at a professional dance academy. I remember often complaining about the pain in my muscles, my strict teachers and the catty “competitive” behaviour classmates. The number one target of my complaints were the classical ballet classes which I - because of the bending of my body in all directions - experienced as torture.
When I started high school at the age of twelve my parents pulled the plug. My life at the dance academy was ended abruptly. My parents decided that my creative outlet wasn’t valuable, or at least, that my academic development was more valuable.
All of a sudden I felt empty.
the pleasure of pain
I quickly realized that the experience I complained about, was of great value. Dance was my life, but I didn’t treat it accordingly. I treated it like it didn’t matter. I didn’t appreciate it. And now that it was gone, it was too late. I couldn’t go back in time to re-appreciate those longs days at the barre, pointing my feet a little further and straightening my back a little more.
Out of frustration I threw away everything which reminded me of my days at the dance academy (except a few pictures, thank God). I didn’t want to be confronted with the past, because it was over after al. But most of all, I wanted to numb the aching feeling in my heart. My heartbreak.
What would’ve been different if I had appreciated my dancing days to the fullest? Although perhaps I couldn’t have stopped my parents decision, I believe my experience would have been a more happy one. Even after the plug was pulled, perhaps I would have found a way to keep practising the thing I loved so much. And I definitely would not have thrown away the report cards with feedback about my technique (and my behaviour haha) from my ‘strict’ teachers.
Appreciation is a proactive action, and requires a healthy dose of mindfulness. The mindful appreciation of life is challenging if you are distracted by the daily hustle. The pathway to more appreciation is therefore found in the conscious choice to appreciate.
What I learned about appreciation this March, is that appreciation enriches your life both today and tomorrow. Appreciation creates a shift in your mind which influences your behaviour. It encourages positive behaviour towards the happenings in your life, and will help you recognize the opportunities in situations instead of dead ends. After all, when you appreciate what you have, the value of what you have amplifies.