Appreciating is recognizing and acknowledging the value, significance, or worth of something or someone. It can be shown in many ways. Expressing appreciation can foster connection, harmony, empathy, and even joy. These quotations on appreciation may help you explore what appreciation can mean, and inspire your own learning.

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.

— Aldous Huxley

[E]njoying and hating the right thing seem the most important factors in virtue of character.

— Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

— Bessie Stanley, Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it is an adaptation of a poem published in 1905 by Bessie Stanley. No version of it has been found in Emerson’s writings.

You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.

— Dale Carnegie

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

— E.B. White

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.

— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything

There are slavish souls who carry their appreciation for favors done them so far that they strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with
A love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

— Hafiz of Persia

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.

— Harold B. Melchart

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

— Henry Miller

When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for our use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will look upon with praise and thanksgiving in their hearts.

— John Ruskin

Critics are by no means the end of the law. Do not think all is over with you because you articles are rejected. It may be that the editor has his drawer full, or that he does not know enough to appreciate you, or you have not gained a reputation, or he is not in a mood to be pleased. A critic’s judgment is like that of any intelligent person. If he has experience, he is capable of judging whether a book will sell. That is all.

— Lavina Goodell, junior editor, Harper’s Bazaar, 1866

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, A version of a quote often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it is an adaptation of a poem published in 1905 by Bessie Stanley. No version of it has been found in Emerson’s writings.

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

— Ram Dass

Grief can awaken us to new values and new and deeper appreciations. Grief can cause us to reprioritize things in our lives, to recognize what’s really important and put it first. Grief can heighten our gratitude as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted. Grief can give us the wisdom of being with death. Grief can make death the companion on our left who guides us and gives us advice. None of this growth makes the loss good and worthwhile, but it is the good that comes out of the bad.

— Roger Bertschausen, Beyond Absence: A Treasury Of Poems, Quotations, And Readings On Death And Remembrance

Life becomes religious whenever we make it so: when some new light is seen, when some deeper appreciation is felt, when some larger outlook is gained, when some nobler purpose is formed, when some task is well done.

— Sophia Lyon Fahs

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
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