Everyone loves to be appreciated – to have their good qualities recognized.
The blog Little Things Matter, recognizing the importance and health-giving power of appreciation, wrote, “When you express your approval or gratitude by showing your appreciation for something [another has] done, you will not only enhance their lives, but you will enrich yours as well. You will feel more fulfilled because you have done something to make someone else’s life better.”
Taking this a little further, when you realize that the good you and others express has its source in the divine, the results can be even more beneficial – in some cases, life-changing.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul series relates the true story of a junior high math teacher who had a class that was edgy and critical of each other after a week of studying new and difficult concepts.
She asked her students to take a few pieces of paper and write the name of each student in one column and the nicest thing they could think of about that person in another column. That weekend the teacher compiled these lists of appreciation and gave each student his or her list on Monday.
She wrote, “Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ I heard whispered. ‘I never knew that meant anything to anyone!’ “I didn’t know others liked me so much.” She continued, “No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.”
Years later, one of the students died in Vietnam. At the funeral, the parents of the deceased young man asked to talk to the teacher. They told her that he kept that list in his wallet all those years afterward and even into the military service. It had been found in his wallet when the parents were given his personal effects. As they told this to the teacher, various other students from that class who attended the funeral, showed their lists and spoke of how much this appreciation meant to them years later.
I have often remembered this story in my healing practice. When individuals have struggled with feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, frustration or being unloved, I have talked to them about how they are appreciated by God as one of His uniquely loved children. This is true about all of us – God, divine Love, is the Father and Mother of each of us.
Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy searched the Scriptures and found the spiritual relationship between God, Spirit, and man in His spiritual image and likeness, to be based on a divine Principle, or the unchanging law of good. This law enforces itself in man as ever-unfolding goodness.
In her monumental book on spirituality and health, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy helps the reader identify those qualities God expresses in all of us – qualities such as harmony, beauty, health, goodness, holiness and vitality. There are many lovely spiritual qualities that each of us inherits from God. These ideas are not static, but a part of our being. Wisdom, grace, patience and many other qualities are within us waiting to be acknowledged and lived. Eddy wrote, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.”
As we see these divine traits within us as coming from divine Principle, operating universally, we can come to the conclusion that if we include, by nature, one of God’s qualities, we inherently include all of them. Since we are God’s image, we must inherit and reflect each of His divine characteristics. Not one is left out.
I remember struggling with a college writing class. Nothing I wrote seemed to please the professor. One night I decided to pray – to acknowledge that intelligence, creativity, insight and comprehension are divine qualities established in me and everyone by God. If God is intelligent, creative and comprehending I reasoned, so I must be, since I am His likeness. After really accepting and cherishing this, the right words came to me and I found myself writing very quickly. The result was not only a paper that the professor read in front of the class as exemplary, but a realization that God has created all of us with an infinite amount of talent and goodness waiting to be expressed. And wow, today I am a writer…and much more when I think of what God has given me to be and do!
I have seen this identification with divine qualities help many individuals overcome all sorts of limitations – from school problems, to work challenges, even to mental and physical illness. Try this: identify, acknowledge, accept and cherish the qualities that God naturally expresses in you. Realize that there is much more to you than physicality. God’s expression of good, guaranteed by divine Principle, actually defines you. This understanding helps us feel that we are not only appreciated, but deeply loved by God, as His expression of Himself.
©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois