How to Go Beyond Gratitude by Substituting Guilt with Appreciation

I would like to start off by expressing my gratitude towards a friend of mine,  Tshombe Brown for writing today’s blog post. The last time I was with him, we had a casual dinner and had a blast together! Without further adieu, I hope you enjoy his article!

“How to Go Beyond Gratitude by Substituting Guilt with Appreciation”

I worked for an employer who, while expressing frustration with some of our employees who felt they deserved more money for the work they were doing, said to me “They should feel lucky they even have a job!”

Have you heard a boss or supervisor express similar sentiment?

It reminds me of well-meaning parents who tell their kids to be grateful because “There are children in Africa who don’t have half the privileges you enjoy.” Maybe you have heard or even have spoken these words yourself.

The intent of expressions like these is to encourage us to appreciate the bounty we all enjoy. Even in difficu
lt times, there is always something for which to be grateful, wouldn’t you agree?

This notion of gratefulness is especially on the minds of many in the United States during the Harvest Celebratory Festival we call Thanksgiving.

The challenge, however, is that when we compare ourselves or our situations with (that of) others, gratitude gets muddled, constricted, and mixed up. This is because we reinforce the mistaken (but common) belief that for a person to enjoy abundance, someone else must suffer poverty. For someone to win, another must lose.

The result is feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Either that or feelings of superiority.

In any case, this is not true gratitude, which requires no comparison to exist.

What do you think of that?

As Magnetic Entrepreneurs, this is an important question, especially when our ‘energy vibe’ may be unconsciously kinked up, as far as gratitude is concerned. Indeed, the way we (as a society) typically talk about and think about be
ing grateful can be problematic, to say the least.

So, how do we reframe this so that it supports us rather than kinks things up?

Well, sometimes “healthy substitution” is a good strategy.

For example, one of the challenges some smokers find when they finally kick the habit is a tendency to gain weight. This is because they have substituted an unhealthy addiction with another one. Instead of cigarettes, the crutch is food.

A healthy substitution in the case of an ex-smoker might be to suck on sugarless candy or to chew on a straw or even go for a jog.

If Gratitude and Guilt are typical companions, who/what could be Gratitude’s new BFF?

I nominate Appreciation!

Gratitude-GiftIt can already be said that appreciation is a
close cousin to gratitude. However, it augments and goes a step further than mere gratefulness.

Just think how we use the word “to appreciate” is used in language. We say a home appreciates or art appreciates or gold appreciates. In all cases, the value of these items increases.

Extending the meaning to people, situations, and things in our lives, when we appreciate them, we assign value, worth and meaning to them. In fact, the more we do so, the more they increase in value and positive worth.

Here’s a dictionary definition of “to appreciate”:

verb [ trans. ]
1 recognize the full worth of : she feels that he does not appreciate her.
• be grateful for (something) : I’d appreciate any information you could give me.

2 understand (a situation) fully;
recognize the full implications of : they failed to appreciate the pressure he was under | [with clause ] I appreciate that you cannot be held totally responsible.

3 [ intrans. ] rise in value or price : they expected the house to appreciate in value.

Can you see how deliberately paring gratitude with appreciation cuts guilt off at the pass? It doesn’t even enter the equation.

But there’s another way to look at “to appreciate.”

In Bob Burg and John David Mann’s new book Go-Givers Sell More, they address the topic of “Appreciation,” offering that it means both ” ‘an expression of one’s estimate of something, usually favorable’ and ‘to rise in value.’ ”

The application?

“When you appreciate people, you appreciate . . . You want to increase your own worth? Appreciate.”

In what ways do you express gratitude for your prospects, clients, business partners and associates, and vendors?

How might you go beyond gratefulness to increase both your value and theirs through the power of appreciation?

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Tshombe Brown is a Spiritual Business Coach who helps independent sales professionals release themselves from struggle, differentiate themselves in the market place, and to easily attract only their perfect clients.

Join in the conversation with him on his blog at

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru

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