When I was new they said: Stick with the women; the women will save your ass! And you know what? They were SO right! If I told you, dear sober person, that investing in your relationships with those around you in the rooms would make all ALL the difference…would you believe me?
But sticking with the women was a tall order when I got here. It wasn’t that I didn’t like women. I didn’t like anyone–women just happened to be a part of that demographic. Gradually though, I found my peers (which was a little scary in the very beginning since as you’ve heard, water rises to its own level) and we all jumped in the pond and started swimming upstream.
I learned to appreciate people in Alcoholics Anonymous. And by appreciate, I mean something more and slightly different from ‘feel gratitude for.’ Appreciation is the ability to grasp the significance, the nature, the value of something (or someone). It’s largely wrapped up in being a person among people, a worker among workers, a friend among friends. It’s recognizing that we’re all doing this thing (in the microcosm of A.A. or the macro world outside the rooms) and that we all struggle and succeed at our own pace.
As I warmed to people, my own vanity and sense of ‘better than’ began to diminish, and that was a powerful gift because it let me be a part of it instead of separated and outside of it all. Philosopher and psychologist William James (who had quite an influence on Bill W.) said that the deepest principle in the human nature is the craving to be appreciated. He was a pragmatist. James was about the tangible. For him, appreciation was a means of getting to god, and after a rather lengthy spiritual quest to find a connection that works for me personally, I can’t say I disagree.
Also, the great fact for me has been that it is impossible to get anywhere in this program, in my spiritual growth, in my financial affairs, in my life, until I can cultivate a sense of appreciation for where I’m currently at. Giving a sincere compliment to myself and/or another person, is a part of that cultivation. It’s praising the good. It’s optimism in the purest form. It’s me paying attention to what’s right in the world around me instead of zeroing in on the laundry list of things I don’t like.
Sometimes you have to dig to give a sincere compliment. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. It means you’re not just shooting off a laundry list of the obvious, but instead, that you’re giving real thought and consideration to the value you find in another person, place or thing. When you feel a real sense of appreciation for someone, it’s an amazing gift. It’s kind of like taking a deep breath and knowing that that particular person was meant to be a part of your journey (in whatever way, great or small) and that you could not have been who you are without their influence. So, I wish you the happiest of journeys cultivating your appreciation today.
***original networking tips provided by http://www.thepersonalbrandingblog.com/are-you-listening-7-tips-for-successful-networking/. Many thanks!