In this world there are many wonderful things which we can show our appreciation towards. You can pretty much name any obscure thing you want and find someone out there who has an (unhealthy?) appreciation for it. Appreciation, as an attitude towards something else, is itself a good thing that I see less and less these days. I am the person who can find something appreciable in almost anything, and yet I find myself more and more qualifying my descriptions of movies, books, and television shows to cater to the opinions of whomever I am conversing with. Now, I don’t do this because I feel some need to please them or avoid being different from them, but rather because I have come to know their likes and dislikes and I want to explain why I appreciated something that they may not have enjoyed.

ImageTake for example the Transformers movie franchise. As far as story lines go, these films have very simplistic plots frequently interrupted by moments of intense, pretty-to-watch action scenes. Not exactly what I would call high quality film material, if I were to be honest, but I understand that about them and appreciate them anyway. I appreciate them for what they are, fun to watch movies with little or no intellectual engagement, because I’ve always seen being critical of a movie, tv show, or story for lacking something that it was never supposed to have in the first place to be a rather pointless endeavor.

Let’s be clear though, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have opinions about what things are better than others or even the quality of a story, what I am saying is that we shouldn’t let a few negatives overshadow the positives. Appreciating things for what they do well as oppose to disparaging them for what they lack is really just a good mindset to have in life as a whole, though for some people it will take practice to develop. I promise it is worth it. So next time you read a book or see a show or movie that contains something you dislike, try not to just write it off then and there. Dwell on it and try to find something about it to appreciate.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Appreciation

  1. Neal, I appreciate your posts in part because your sentence structure makes me think. You are repeating something my parents told me (I am 60 yrs old – another generation gap!) that if I can’t say something good to not say anything at all. I’m afraid that advice got lost in the generation gap. We now have a generation that criticizes everything and, by implication at least, expects everything to be perfect. There are major problems on both sides of that equation. If we automatically look for the lack rather than the presence we will be chronically disappointed. Nothing is without lack. If I, even implicitly and unconsciously, expect perfection I will be satisfied with nothing. This is a horrible way to live!

    1. Wayne, thank you for the encouragement! I agree completely, it seems to have become the mark of my generation to discover and obsess over the flaws of everything but a select few which we have chosen out of preference to ignorantly compare the rest to while we remain blissfully unaware of the flaws which our selections have. My generation has idolized preference over validity–it doesn’t seem to matter if the content makes valid points or has great qualities in certain areas if those points or areas are not the points or areas we prefer. It’s a sad reality that we do not appreciate more of the things which do not necessarily fit our personal tastes. It’s also why a lot of my friends do not like my movie reviews; I rarely give a movie a bad review because I’m always looking for the things I can appreciate about it instead of focusing on what I disagree with or dislike. Anyway, thank you for your comment! I hope you keep reading the blog and keep appreciating things even when they aren’t your personal preference!

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