Journal Entry: Andrew Gerald Millas-08/31/2023

Journal Entry

8/31/2023 (Day #4264)

Appreciation and gratitude

I wrote about attending a couple of motivational speakers’ presentations last weekend (Mrs. Overton-Johnson and Mr. Cox). Afterwards, I had a conversation with 2 people about the presentations that reminded me to check my appreciation and gratitude. The other 2 people commented about the BOP “…not doing anything real to help everyone in here…”. I asked them to clarify what that meant, and one said “…the seminars don’t do anything to help (him)…”, there’s no FSA credit for it, no certificate, and “…all they did was talk about (things)…” that didn’t apply to him, wouldn’t help him “get out of here”. Fair enough, we all form our own perspectives, I’ve got no judgments about it.
I did ask them how long they’ve been here and if they’d noticed any increase in the frequency of outside speakers coming in. They both arrived here after the pandemic, and neither noticed any changes about outside speakers coming in. I told them I’ve been here for ten years, and I have seen an increase in the frequency and variety of outside speakers. There have been four in the last 5 months just off the top of my head, and to my recollection that is double the number that came in over the seven years before the pandemic. They shrugged their shoulders and walked away. No problem. Different perspectives again.
My observation coincidentally prompted some self-assessment and I realized that I’d taken the outside speakers for granted myself until it came up in conversation. I made a mental note to be more mindful and present, and pay attention to details. Gratitude and appreciation have a big part in my outlook, helping me stay positive and motivated. I know that “old me” was susceptible to a lack of appreciation for relationships, taking people for granted. That presented as complacency, and that led me to detach from my family and friends. The relationships faltered because of it. Again, more hindsight – I can’t identify anyone in my circle that I didn’t detach from in some way at some point. For me, that was a prime demonstration of taking them for granted, not appreciating them being in my life. Big, unhealthy mistake!!!!
The people I took for granted the most were those closest to me. They were the most important, the most in tune with me, and I didn’t appreciate them. I’ve made a concerted effort to rectify that and ensure that it doesn’t happen going forward. I’m aiming to demonstrate my appreciation by being present, supportive, and considerate. I’m more aligned with my circle of family and friends, aka my support network, and I let them know regularly that I appreciate them, I’m grateful for their support and friendship. Appreciation is one of those perceptions I learned I can’t control one way or the other, good or bad. But I can and do try to control my actions that could influence perceptions either way, so that’s where my focus is. I feel like part of it also stems from being mindful of consequences now in “new me” thinking, less impulsive and less volatile. My old belief, “Better to ask for forgiveness than permission” is not my NOW belief.
To me, gratitude is an ally of appreciation. Both seem to be best fulfilled by actions versus words and I adhere to that. I look at gratitude as more “immediate”, sort of like a precursor to the longer state of appreciation. I don’t know of scenarios where one exists without the other. I tend to express gratitude more, by saying Thank you for example, and I show appreciation more by my actions. So maybe one is expressive and one is demonstrative. Does that mean one is assertive and one is passive? No, I don’t think so, I think it’s situational and individual. Either one can be a state of being or an expressed sentiment. For my purposes and objectives, I take more of a radical-acceptance approach, just be with it, “in the moment”, and let my feelings of gratitude and appreciation be whichever or both might come to mind and experience them, rather than overthink in search of which one is “ideal” or “right”.
That’s the “new me”, more introspective and contemplative approach. I’m grateful to have learned it and apply it. I appreciate my support network standing by me, being patient and understanding while I’ve learned new thinking. Hopefully they know they are appreciated by my actions. 🙂

Grateful and humble.