The difference between evaluation and appreciation

One way we find meaning in something is by comparing it to another. When we go to the grocery store, we squeeze several tomatoes before we buy them. If we find a mature one, we test further to make sure we have found the most mature one. When we watch a movie, we say this comedy wasn’t as funny as the last movie this actor made, but it was still pretty good. We even compare people. who’s the most beautiful? Which is smarter? Who is the best athlete? Our presidential election is a great study of this phenomenon. Rather than presenting any new ideas or solutions, the candidates usually paint the other in as bad a light as possible so that they appear to be the best choice by virtue of juxtaposition.

Our tendency to compare can be attributed to the way we perceive information. Our brains distinguish differences in shapes and patterns to create an impression, which is why we experience our environment as separate and distinct objects. We use this ability to analyze the world around us to form opinions and conclusions that guide our thoughts, actions, and behavior. It would be difficult to navigate our lives without this skill. The problem arises when we engage in the evaluation process without also including the estimation process.

The word “value” has “value” at its root, so when we evaluate we are defining the value of the thing being studied. Depending on our conclusion, we judge that something has value, has little or no value. However, it is important to realize that everything has value if one can appreciate it. Appreciation means ‘understanding of value or importance’. Many people are able to turn tragedy into victory by using painful circumstances as opportunities for personal growth. They have the wisdom to take advantage of these situations by understanding their inherent value and importance. Phrases like “every cloud has a silver lining” and “turning lemons into lemonade” remind us that every obstacle and setback within them has potential of great benefit if we can change our perception by focusing on the positive rather than the negative.

The word appreciation has a second use, which is “increase in value,” such as, “The price of antiques will go up over time.” This tells us that changing the way we approach the event may not only recognize potential blessing in disguise, but also shift the nature of the situation from negative to positive. Like the science of alchemy, which sought to change lead into gold, appreciation has the power to transform the essence of something seemingly worthless into a precious and valuable commodity.

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