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Appreciation blog

How do we show appreciation to others?

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. This is a day that is likely to evoke emotions in us all; a whole spectrum of emotions for many different reasons.

Mother’s Day is a recognised holiday around the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution of mothers and express respect and love for mothers. While we all have a biological mother, the individual we regard as our mum or mother figure in our life may or may not in fact be our biological mother, again for many different reasons.

The verb ‘mother’ means to bring up (a child) with care and affection. Even as adults many of us still need and want a person to stand alongside us and treat us with unconditional love and affection. Who is the individual in your world who does this for you? There is no right or wrong answer here, but it is important to take time to reflect and recognise who in your world can demonstrate that love and acceptance for you as you are. It may be your biological or birth mother. It may be someone else.  

Sarah Caddy

Dr Sarah Caddy – Director & General Practioner

Find out more about Dr Sarah Caddy

How do we show appreciation to others?

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. This is a day that is likely to evoke emotions in us all; a whole spectrum of emotions for many different reasons.

Mother’s Day is a recognised holiday around the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution of mothers and express respect and love for mothers. While we all have a biological mother, the individual we regard as our mum or mother figure in our life may or may not in fact be our biological mother, again for many different reasons.

The verb ‘mother’ means to bring up (a child) with care and affection. Even as adults many of us still need and want a person to stand alongside us and treat us with unconditional love and affection. Who is the individual in your world who does this for you? There is no right or wrong answer here, but it is important to take time to reflect and recognise who in your world can demonstrate that love and acceptance for you as you are. It may be your biological or birth mother. It may be someone else.  

How do we know who ‘has our back?’

It is important to identify the people that we can recognise who have “got our back”, who will stand alongside us when our back is against the wall. Once we work out who they are; in other words, who is in our troop we can look to build and maintain these relationships. Most relationships can and do develop without much effort but if we put effort into our relationship with these people it stands to reason this relationship and bond with the other person will strengthen.

As individuals, in any walk of life, our probability of success in doing anything is most likely down to feeling stable and secure in ourselves. Let’s start with children; how can we help children feel stable and secure to take on the world outside? You can think of it as a triad of 3 things. To increase the chances of a child feeling safe and secure in themselves they need to know they are loved, wanted, and respected. 

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As adults, these 3 things can still help us feel stable and secure. Who in your world does this for you? Do you do this for anyone in your world? Are you able to do these for your children, whether they are your biological children or children in your care? Take time to consider how you can demonstrate each of these to those people you care deeply about. It’s likely to be things like listening to the other person, encouraging the other person, being warm and approachable, not taking offence at their mistakes and taking a genuine interest in them. 

To take a slight tangent and enter the slightly grey area of social media here, there is a lot of positives to social media, but the negatives are vast and well documented. The “Instagram life” shows us a version of how it could or should be for us as mothers, children, partners and the list goes on. It seems to be about doing everything bigger and better than the next person. What effect could this have on us? To try and go some way to answer this we need to remember our Chimps always look externally and sideways to compare how we are doing in anything. Not only that, but they also compare to who they perceive to be the best in whatever it is. As you can probably see then when we look to social media, we are very unlikely to be comparing ourselves with reality. Our Chimps tend to believe everything they see, however, and this is likely to set us up for feelings of inadequacy and feelings of failure, which can, in turn, affect our self-confidence and self-esteem.

How we compare as a mother is a common thought for many. “I’m not a good enough mum!” But what evidence are you using to make this statement?  The chances are it’s not looking at it through realistic lenses and self-assessing via your Human and your values but through comparisons with totally unrealistic images or beliefs about what a good mother should be.

How about taking a different route to answer this. First, start by asking yourself; what do you think a good mother is? What qualities, values and behaviours do you think a good mother would have and demonstrate?

 Invest in some time to reflect and work out what are your values. By values I mean your moral code to guide your behaviour, these will give you a way of knowing you are doing the right thing. Once you have identified these then work out how you can demonstrate these values daily. You could also reflect on how you can help to show your child or people you care about that they are loved, wanted and respected.

Like anything in ‘The Chimp Model’, it is a choice. Choose to go with your Chimp and the chances are it will continue to look sideways to assess how you are doing. Alternatively, you could choose to look at it from your Human’s viewpoint; have you lived by your values today? If not, what has been the pitfall to living by your values in the situation you were in and therefore what is the plan to try and rectify this.

Once you have been able to identify someone in your life who makes you feel loved, wanted and respected how could you be proactive to build the relationship further? Could you do more to show your appreciation for them? It may already be something you do, in which case perhaps reflect on how showing this appreciation makes you and that other person feel. I imagine it makes you both feel pretty good and strengthens your bond.

Mothers Day is traditionally about showing our thanks and appreciation with flowers and gifts but are there other simpler ways you can show this to these people in your world? How about the simplest of ways with words, spoken or written?

 As a doctor working on the frontline in the NHS for many years now, I don’t expect a thank you from patients or relatives. This may seem a negative view but it’s really not. My values are that I will always do my best, show care, kindness, and respect for people. No matter how busy my shift at work or in my day outside of work I know that living by my values helps to give me peace of mind. This doesn’t necessarily mean everything will have gone smoothly but when I self-assess at the end of the day with my Human I have peace of mind on how I have behaved and actions I have taken in response to different challenges I have faced. However, both my Chimp and Human will always appreciate and really enjoy a thank you. It means so much for someone to take the time to come and find me and say just that; Thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done for me/my relative/my friend.

So, it doesn’t need to be a large gesture or a big financial outlay, but by seeking out those people in your world that you care about and who treat you with love and respect and make you feel wanted, perhaps you could show your thanks and appreciation of them this Mother’s Day. But why wait to do this just once a year, make a new habit to tell them often, it will more than likely enhance and strengthen that bond you share, something that is settling and enjoyable for both you and your Chimp.

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Applying Emotional Skills

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