A Culture of Appreciation

Published on Oct 03 2010 // Opinion
By Dhruva Mishra

It is debatable as to whether we lost the culture of appreciation- or did we not possess it at all. Collect a set of five fellow Bhutanese, and perhaps you hear them say “leaders did not do any good for nearly two decades and as a result we continue to suffer”. This might, to some extent, appears as a bitter truth; yet this is unreal. Everyone—leaders, public, intellectuals, academicians, experts, civil society members, writers, journalists, among others, have sacrificed their tireless contributions profoundly, at least for the sake of “real democracy” in Bhutan. The priceless efforts made by some of our fore leaders to resolve this issue are crystal clear in our minds.

We all know that when things are not under the control of our hands, decisions cannot be made and results cannot be obtained in our favor. However, many among us still continue to blame one another. This trend has been with us for a long time and if this continues in the current pace, it is likely that we might deviate from opting for ‘a culture of appreciation.’ Some of the recent chronological events swinging in as ‘issues for debate’ in the online sites and the direction – by virtue of self realization; our society is heading to, perhaps deserve some timely caution.

From the time of being evicted from our nation to being a refugee for almost two decades: further down to the resettlement process, we all have swum in the soup of constant discourses. The meaning and content of those discourses have given a flavor to our lives—be it sweet or bitter, better or worse, fruitful or fruitless. Seemingly noticeable, we have always found something to complain rather than being complacent. If we stay at home, we complain that there is nothing interesting to do, when we travel we complain about the lumpy beds of the hotel and crowded airports, when we go to work we complain about having too much to do, when we read someone’s creative thoughts we try to find some loop holes to make a complain, and you name it. We seem to have lost the sense of gratitude – or rather never cultivated one. Criticism is a reprehension and constructive feedback with an alternative is an appreciation. Both are needed but the later presides over the former by a big margin.

The word “Dhanyabaad” in our language is unblemished in itself. The meaning often includes a sense of gratitude combined with a desire to repay others for what we have been given. It’s not just that we feel grateful, or that we express our gratitude, but that we actually experience a sincere desire to give something back. We might think of it as appreciation that stimulates a sense of obligation. Not an extremely imposed obligation. But a sense of obligation that arises naturally within us as we recognize how we have been supported and cared for by others. Perhaps the fact that we are fighting for a common cause needs no mention here. Our problem is like a boat; we are all sailors either with no captain or too many captains. The problem is vivid and the solution is a far reaching goal – not impossible; but the level of thought and approach should perhaps be changed. Albert Einstein once said, “The significant problems we are facing right now cannot be solved with the same level of thinking we were at when they were created”.

Almost twenty years passed by and we seem to have the same notion of what “I” say or do is right. We could never comprehend “achievement” together and rejoice with happiness, neither did we appreciate each other. Needless to mention, the young talents are mushrooming. Let’s ask ourselves – how much have we appreciated them and how much do they deserve? You must be thinking, “Why is this writer looping himself between appreciation and gratitude”? Well, look at the developed society and you will get your answers. With appreciation comes happiness and motivation to do more. Appreciation is the real source of success. It brings recognition and being recognized means being celebrated and held in high esteem. Rejoicing together brings respect for each other which is a key element to success as a society. Let’s not forget that appreciation and recognition is the thrill that propels the athletes to break existing records; the tonic that helps writers to produce outstanding works; helps a student to learn even more than he is expected to and countless others are benefited because of this simple magic. Appreciation is a gesture that can turn into a miracle and believe it, this miracle has given U – turns to people’s lives.

We seem to react and comment on everything in haste. Any deed carried out in haste will lack wisdom, and so the consequence can be argumentative to miserable. The real wisdom is in the sharing of wise experiences and knowledge, but a lot of it is actually in common sense, as much as education is what remains after you have forgotten everything you learnt in the college. The difference is how we apply this common sense and education – we all have the ability to keep going even when we face challenges in our lives, but a bit of motivation – that comes from appreciation, will take us further, because it makes us happier.  Happiness, on the other hand, is not a question of how you look to others. Rather it is a matter of what you feel inside; it is a deep answering response in your life. Happiness comes with achievement and grows exponentially by sharing.

For a nation that has a few authentic heroes, the repositioning of our cultural values through recognition for excellence is something to be encouraged and celebrated, where as means of happiness – be it small or big – should be excavated. The process of development starts from us and continues to grow in the society. In this long process of our journey, it is important to remain positive and appreciate each others’ contribution and take a pride.

To conclude, Shiv Khera in his international best seller ‘You Can Win,’ says, in a nutshell, educated persons are those who choose wisely and courageously under any circumstances. If they choose between wisdom over foolishness, good over bad, virtue over vulgarity, regardless of the academic degrees they have, then they are educated. We have a long way to go, a long mission to accomplish, a long journey to travel, thus, united voice is what matters and a unified actions is what it takes. Let’s be positive and appreciative towards any sorts of good works and this should give us a lasting peace, a lasting freedom, and a lasting dream to see Bhutan a true democratic nation.

(A Mathematician by profession, Mishra currently works as marketing manager in a Virginia-based IT company. He can be reached at: dhruvaenator@gmail.com)