Gratitude … and recognition and appreciation

Every month in The (Sorta) Secret Sisterhood, we feature a Q+A with an expert—usually a woman who serves women 40+ through some type of healing modality, from conventional medicine to the deeply woo.

My goal with these interviews—as well as with the other resources and discussions offered—is to provide us with a buffet of alternatives as we navigate the decades after 40. As I like to say, the only “right way” of nourishing (and healing) ourselves is to find what is right for us and, equally importantly, right for us right now.

gratitude expert

Earlier in November—frequently linked with gratitude because it houses Thanksgiving—I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Ceccanese, Principal Consultant at Dynamic Connections, LLC and passionate scholar of and advocate for gratitude.

Mary can rattle off statistics and data points about the effect of gratitude on our health and longevity—and she also provides simple steps we can take if we’re looking to start (or uplevel) our gratitude practices. (It makes me deeply happy that people can and do study gratitude—seems so much more important than so much of the research done these days. You know what I’m talking about: you read the study and say, “Wait a minute, you spent how much money to learn this?” I could have told you that!)

You can hear the entire interview in the Sisterhood’s online clubhouse (and if you use the coupon code TRIBE, you’ll get the first month free to explore), so today—in light of the approaching Thanksgiving Day—I just wanted to point out one highlight of the interview for me.

word play

I’ve written a lot on the blog about my love of language and how small changes in the words we use make a huge difference in our brains and in our lives.

Mary’s addition to my stockpile of word shifts is this:

We recognize people for what they achieve. We appreciate people for who they are.

Whether you are functioning as a boss or supervisor or parent or colleague, what a gift this is! Instead of waiting for someone (perhaps ourselves?) to achieve something before expressing recognition, we can simply express gratitude for a person being themselves and pointing out the qualities we appreciate in them.

And according to Mary, it turns out that those who are appreciated improve their engagement and performance many times more than those who are recognized.

make the connection

Food for thought for sure, particularly as we head into the holiday season with so many good intentions about “doing better” with our food and lifestyle choices.

How would it feel to tell yourself, “I appreciate you for being the kind of person who is willing to try to make better choices when you’re surrounded by difficult ones” rather than waiting for yourself to succeed so you can say, “Good job?”

Where have you been holding back your gratitude because you’ve conflated recognition with appreciation?


  1. Audrey Acton

    I printed out the gratitude benefits and have it on my wall. I also have changed my daily gratitude journal habit to one that reflects what Mary suggested. I have had a multi-year habit of journaling my gratitude. I think I may have a decades worth of old gratitude journals on my bookshelves. I have switched it up a few times when I hear of a new way to show appreciation for my life. This last one from Mary is really one of the deepest levels of gratitude I have seen in all these years. I love the new way of journaling my gratitude. So simple. Write, *what happened, *impact it had on me, *how I felt. Easy peasy. I did a big one for my birthday this month. Spent some time writing about what had happened over the last year and the impact it had on me and how I felt. A lot more had happened than I had remembered. Great exercise!

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      I’m so happy this resonated (LOL—yup, I went there). What I really love about this is that it’s really reflective of how I ask clients to journal about other things: don’t just journal about/how much what you ate—write about how you *felt* afterwards and what affect this had on you.

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