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Wisdom from Awareness: Appreciation is Not Always What You Think

Wisdom from Awareness: Appreciation is Not Always What You Think

(photo credit above: Gerd Altmann-Pixabay)


In the busyness of our days (maybe into the night, too!), especially in these (still) unusual COVID times, emotional intelligence is a critical inner skill for our wellness during our moment to moment and day to day, both at work and in life. In my work of helping my clients in their optimal performance, I’ve found that authentic awareness and appreciation are common themes they struggle through.


And so, here’s a little ‘food for thought, emotions, body and soul’…

First, Breathe. I’m talking, deep breaths in, and deep breaths out.  Not once, not twice - at least three consecutive times in a given moment (really, you should aim for at least 4 minutes with this!).


This simple action is a powerful intentional strategy in emotional intelligence.


It is used to:

  • Deliberately manage stress level.
  • Deliberately improve emotional self-awareness (the start of awareness intelligence) by clearing your focus from your mind and into your body.
  • Deliberately regulate emotional reaction charge by calming the nervous system that our emotions can trigger to increased blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Deliberately regulate an emotional response by giving time between feeling, speaking, and responding to situations and circumstances.
  • Positively influence the heightened emotional state of someone or circumstance in your moment by shifting energy.

Speaking of Awareness… I recently experienced something around this. I made a call to an ex-colleague of mine from way back. I noticed that I was starting to feel apprehensive, but I quickly brushed it off. It had been years since we worked together when I was in corporate employment - she in her leadership role, and me, as one of her senior human resources business partners.

As we talked, she asked about how I was doing and what I was up to. Excitedly, I started sharing about my latest endeavors, challenges, growth, lessons and next steps in my authentic success journey.

I found it amazing how she quickly then asked me questions and gave me advice when my answers weren't seemingly satisfactory to her. Everything she said was valuable and helpful, yet I couldn't help but to feel scrutinized and criticized.

In her critique and advice moments, I found myself eventually laughing it off, saying facetiously (I must admit), "You got me there! Despite my business of teaching and coaching on intuitive wisdom, authenticity and emotional intelligence within professional and life structures – awareness of which is key - clearly there are things I am still unaware of and learning.”

My biggest reflection lesson in this exchange was sparked inside me when she said, "I wasn’t thinking of that, I’m just happy that, despite your intelligence, I was able to help you.”

I suddenly became aware of how guilty I felt for judging her and so I asked myself "WHY?"

👉 This person never expressed her approval of what I did. She merely addressed what I need to work on and made me defensive.  My first thought was, “If you want people to get on board with you, first appreciate their efforts before diving into problem solving.” In many ways, I believe this to be true and quite useful for enhancing relationships. After all...


A key nugget to the awareness of appreciation includes the knowing that:
💎 "Finding problems is a TACTIC, Appreciation is TACT" as a dear colleague, neuroscientist and coach (Laila Al-Alwan) nicely coined it. Tact can improve a situation when influencing others on your perspective or a mutual goal is involved.

That said, another key nugget to the awareness of appreciation is:

💎 Knowing when to set boundaries, and the possibility that it’s okay to let go for appreciation’s sake -  that you cannot control others, AND you can control how you respond for what's right for you, for keeping you true to your vitality, core values, talents, wholeness, and wellness. It is from this state that opens the brilliant gate of love in action - where you can then share your true gifts for others.

💎 There are many layers of opportunity when it comes to Awareness. It's not as straightforward as the thinking mind believes.

For example, I’ve found that family and close relationships tend to be rich with trigger-mines for lessons on sharpening discernment for how best to handle for next time, especially when there is a pattern.


One such personal experience was my emotionally difficult, heart-wrenching decision to 'let go' of a bad relationship with the father of my child. The back and forth of self-doubt, fear, guilt, shame, discernment with "should I stay, or should I let go". I wholeheartedly agree with opening awareness for influence and nurturing external relationships with the art of "tact". And I've also found that in certain cases, it's not about the external, first. It's about being aware of the appreciation for self, first.


I've always been intrigued by what self-awareness can do for our level of intuitive wisdom for self-care boundary setting with compassion while gracefully providing opportunity for the other person to grow, or not; and then knowing what to do 'next', first for yourself and then for others - in the spirit of appreciation, for what truly matters most.


What does this mean to you, in your moments, whether at work or in personal life? How does awareness help you to keep at your true best self?


Contact me to learn more about how I can help you in your next level of success.


Much love and success, always,

Maria at