Appreciation – Relationship Competency 1

March 20, 2024

Today I wish to introduce the first relationship competency within Mindful Compassionate Dialogue, which is appreciation. This week’s article by LaShelle from Wise Heart explores and defines what appreciation is and distinguishes it from praise and ego-building, which are often confused with true appreciation. At the end, I offer a practice to start cultivating and incorporating appreciation into your relationships more consciously and intentionally.

Appreciation is the first of the 12 Relationship Competencies. Appreciation is a form of positive feedback that uses clear and specific terms to express what works. It’s not about building someone’s self-esteem or giving praise. Appreciation practice lays the foundation for collaborative and vibrant relationships. It supports the ability to meet challenges with skill and grace and contributes to resilience by creating a sense of confidence that each person’s good intentions and effective contributions are known.

Appreciation as a form of honest expression likely is changing the definition as you know it. When most people hear the word “appreciation,” they think of praise. Examples of praise include telling someone how great they are, complimenting them, and assigning positive labels like “sweet person,” “good parent,” or “hard worker.” Praise and positive judgments (or labels) are usually meant to be forms of celebration, but they are problematic for two reasons.

First, judgments are static and simplistic and can’t represent all that you are—an ever-changing flow of dynamic aliveness. Second, you may have experienced praise as a form of manipulation, an attempt to shape your behaviour, or as a means to dole out rewards and punishments. Both of these are tragic strategies that interfere with your ability to hear the other person.

Within the framework of Mindful Compassionate Dialogue, appreciation is defined as a form of positive feedback that uses clear and specific terms to express what works. It is a form of honest expression that identifies specific actions or behaviours and the needs they meet. The true purpose of appreciation is to become aware of and communicate what meaningfully contributes to life. Such attention and communication about what contributes teaches you how to create thriving for yourself and others. It is a form of honest expression that identifies specific actions or behaviours and the needs they meet.

Within this context, when you share an appreciation you express gratitude regarding something a particular person has done to contribute to particular needs for you. Listening to someone offer appreciation is really about hearing their experience of something you did, not their opinion of you. In a fundamental sense, when someone appreciates you, it’s not about you. It helps you get to know the person offering appreciation and how to contribute to them.


This week choose one particular relationship in which you would like to express appreciation. When you offer that appreciation, also let the other person know what appreciation is for you in the way you are offering it. Read over the definition above and decide how you would express that in your own words.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog.

Thank you for reading, for being here, and for being you.

With love.

If you would like to learn and cultivate the relational competencies, communication skills and emotional capacity needed to create compassionate, skilful and thriving relationships with yourself and others, have a look at our upcoming Mindful Compassionate Dialogue course. Click HERE.

You are also invited to join our free biweekly Empathy Circle, where you can learn and discover what empathy is, and more importantly, practice giving and receiving empathy, allowing you to be deeply seen and heard in whatever challenge or celebration you’re navigating. Click HERE. Book a complimentary 1:1 Coaching Call with me, if you’d like to experience a powerful coaching conversation. Click HERE.

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