How is it that people who live a very simple life and aren’t constantly surrounded by new ideas, travel and technology can live their lives and seem to be fulfilled? Then there are those that have the world at their fingertips and are surrounded by the best of everything, travel to new lands and have continuous adventures yet never really seem satisfied.

I think it all adds up to one simple word: appreciation. The definition of appreciation is to understand the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something. It is the ability to find the beauty and freshness in life that surrounds us daily whether we live in the city or the country. To me, appreciation is an understanding that there are things in the world that surround us that are never exactly the same from day to day and have a beauty more magnificent than anything we could ever purchase. We can appreciate the newness of each sunrise or the sunset, the sounds of nature, or the peace found in stillness and the absence of doing.

I have always felt blessed, lucky in some way. My life is not simple yet in every obstacle I have faced, new opportunity has been born and I realized I appreciate the opportunity to learn from those moments and to grow from them and to discover more about who I am and what I want to accomplish with my life. I learned appreciation for the support I have in those around me and the lack of it from some that spurred me on to show that what I believed and knew in my heart could be right despite those who may have doubted me. I have appreciation for a daughter that inspires me to be more than a parent but also a role model and guide to unlocking the unknown and taking a risk to discover more of what we are doing here and how we can make a positive difference.

The word gratitude defined means: a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. To me appreciation is gratitude with a rocket attached to its butt! That rocket launches it out beyond the mere “thank you” or “I am grateful” and creates an emotional experience within ourselves and others that has a ripple effect on those around us.

If we observe those in our society who come to the end of their life, whether it is our neighbor, a friend, family member of someone famous, those who towards the end expressed their appreciation of all that life had offered them, we see that they realized the true gift of life is appreciation of life itself. That appreciation propels us on to discover more about ourselves and life itself. We also discover appreciation of those in our lives, the things we have in our lives, our health, and the success of our future ventures. To me appreciation is the element we need to really live an attitude of gratitude.

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl Nordyke has been writing all of her life. Her inspiration comes observing those around her and taking the time to see beyond the obvious. She is the co-owner of Waves of Gratitude Jewelry and Apparel. Waves of Gratitude® is about putting our thankfulness into action. It was created as the result of our search for a piece of inspirational jewelry that would serve as a reminder to always be grateful.