What is Abraham-Hicks’s take on the word “appreciation”? And how does their account compare to the articles in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language?
KEYWORDS: Abraham-Hicks, appreciation, beliefs, emotions, feelings, gratitude, law of attraction, philosophy of language, psychology, thoughts, vibration, word meanings.
As some readers may know, I have recently published two articles on the meaning of the word “appreciation”. In the first article I looked at the entry in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (What Does the Word ‘Appreciation’ Mean?), and in the second article I studied the article in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (More on the Meaning of the Word ‘Appreciation’).
This means that we now have a rather solid understanding of the various possible meanings of the noun “appreciation”. And this gives us the ability to analyze also other definitions of appreciation in a more sensitive way.
All in all, we are now in a good position to have a first look at the Abraham-Hicks material, and their definition and usage of the term “appreciation”.
So in this article I will first and foremost establish what their definition of “appreciation” amounts to, and then also compare and contrast it with the definitions in the SOED and the AHD.
However, establishing the different meanings of “appreciation” in the Abraham-Hicks material is not entirely easy. For not only do they mention mention the word “appreciation” many times, but four of their six main books come without a general index. So it takes some time to just find all those passages.
Nevertheless, I have now located 135 passages in their six books where “appreciation” is found, and I will now try to organize them into categories.
- PART 1: APPRECIATION AS AN EMOTION
- PART 2: APPRECIATION AS A FEELING
- 2.1 Appreciation, Love, and Joy
- 2.2 Appreciation, Thought, and Feeling
- 2.3 Emotions Are Manifestations
- PART 3: APPRECIATION AS A THOUGHT
- 3.1 More on Appreciation As a Thought
- PART 4: APPRECIATION AS A VIBRATION
- PART 5: GRATITUDE IS NOT APPRECIATION
PART 1: APPRECIATION AS AN EMOTION
Let us start with the “easiest” thing first, namely the idea that the word “appreciation” is an emotion. That this is unequivocally so can be understood from the fact that the word “appreciation” is placed on Abraham-Hicks’s scale of emotions.
Thus, we read in their Ask and It Is Given that (p. 297):
“A scale of your emotions would look something like this…appreciation…”
So together with other positive emotions such as love and joy, appreciation is definitely on their list.
That “appreciation” is an emotion is also confirmed in their The Law of Attraction (p. 92):
“…for you are thinking about something that you want, and in your emotion of appreciation, you are…”
And a similar passage is found in the beginning of that same book (p. 34):
“…and in that case, you would feel the positive emotions of pride, love, or appreciation.”
These quotes , I think, firmly establish the idea that Abraham-Hicks think of the word “appreciation” as being an emotion.
But this does not mean, of course, that they do not think of “appreciation” in any other way. For they do seem to think of “appreciation” in other ways as well. And one of those ways is as a feeling. So let us take a look at that.
PART 2: APPRECIATION AS A FEELING
One might ask the question: Does Abraham-Hicks distinguish the word “emotion” from the word “feeling”? After all, they are two separate words.
My (tentative) stance on this matter is that Abraham-Hicks, more or less, are using the words “emotion” and “feeling” interchangeably.
So here they are talking about a “feeling of appreciation”, which I read as being synonymous to an “emotion of appreciation” (Ask and It Is Given, p. 146):
“Your thoughts and feelings of appreciation will flow from you naturally.”
And on the next page they say (p. 147):
“…the object of your attention has now become the feeling of appreciation.”
So I do think that, for now, we can simply consider the phrase “feeling of appreciation” as equivalent to the phrase “emotion of appreciation”.
Appreciation, Love, and Joy
Let us now look at a passage in Ask and It Is Given where Abraham-Hicks say (p. 104):
“You are, in your moment of appreciation, offering no resistance to who you are, so your resulting emotional indication is one of love, joy, or the feeling of appreciation.”
Here, first of all, we again find the phrase “feeling of appreciation”, which, again, seems to be equivalent with the phrase “emotion of appreciation”.
However, there are two other matters regarding this sentence that makes it rather interesting.
The first thing that is curious is why the words “love” and “joy” are not preceded with “feeling of”. In other words, why was that sentence not written as “…so your resulting emotional indication is either the feeling of love, joy, or appreciation”?
For, to me at least, it seems as if the words “love” and “joy” are not in the same category as “appreciation”, since only “appreciation” was preceded with “feeling of”, but not “love” and “joy”.
So what is it that Abraham-Hicks here is trying to say?
They are presumably just making sure that all three words (love, joy, appreciation) are correctly interpreted by the reader as they are intended, so that all those words are in the same category (namely: feelings/emotions).
So the idea is something like this. While the words “love” or “joy” are typically understood as emotions, the word “appreciation” is not.
Because the word “appreciation” is more prone to be interpreted in more ways than one (as an action, as a verbal offering, as a thought, as an emotion, etc.), it needs to be explicitly categorized as an emotion. That is my explanation for why (in the quote above) Abraham-Hicks said “the feeling of appreciation” instead of just “appreciation”.
Appreciation, Thought, and Feeling
The second thing that is interesting with the above quote is that we have two instances of the word “appreciation” mentioned in the same sentence. How can that be?
Well, in this case it seems that these two instances must be understood differently.
First of all, we can easily see that the last “appreciation” in that quote is an “appreciation as a feeling”. So that is clear. But what role does the first “appreciation” play?
As I read it, it seems that the first “appreciation” is an “appreciation as a thought”. And, as that sentence is constructed, it seems that the thought itself is “feeling-free”, or “clean” of feelings.
The idea seems to be that it is that thought–either at the time of thinking it, or right after thinking it–that then produces, or creates, a “feeling of appreciation”.
In other words, it seems that the thought comes before the emotion or feeling. Is that so, always? I would say “Yes”. Why? Because it’s about deliberate creation.
Emotions Are Manifestations
So the idea is simple: emotions and feelings are manifestations. Although emotions and feelings are “internal” to us (as opposed to being gross physical manifestations that we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands), they are, nevertheless, still manifestations. We might call them fine-physical manifestations.
Thus, we are back in well-known Law of Attraction territory. This is a thought-based world, where thoughts create various manifestations, including fine-physical manifestations such as emotions and feelings.
And it is those emotions and feelings that help us navigate in the world, in terms of what we want to manifest. Thus, Abraham-Hicks say this in The Law of Attraction (p. 32):
“And long before it manifests (actually, when you first begin to give thought to it), you can tell by the way you feel whether it is something you want to manifest or not.”
So this quote seems to support the idea that it is the thought that comes first, and that the thought then creates or generates an emotion or feeling within us. And that emotion or feeling then guides us to either stick with the same thought, or move on to another thought that will produce better feelings or emotions.
PART 3: APPRECIATION AS A THOUGHT
As I have noted above, Abraham-Hicks can be read as saying that “appreciation” is a thought. Also, following my discussion above, a thought would be, on its own, “feeling-free” or “emotion-free”.
But the objection can be made that the quote above did not actually contain the word “thought”; the phrase that was used was instead “moment of appreciation” (Ask and It Is Given, p. 104). Therefore, the objection concludes, Abraham-Hicks may not think of the word “appreciation” as a thought, after all.
My reply to such an objection is this. Although that quote did not explicitly mention the word “thought”, it is mentioned in many other passages. Therefore, my interpretation may very well be correct, nevertheless.
For example, in Ask and It Is Given they say (p. 28):
“There is a very big vibrational difference in your thoughts of appreciation of your mate, and in your thoughts of what you would like to be different about your mate.”
Here we then see the phrase “thoughts of appreciation”, which confirms that an “appreciation” might be understood as a thought.
And in The Law of Attraction they say (p. 45):
“When you spend time with others who appreciate you, it stimulates your own thoughts of appreciation.”
Here, again, the phrase “thoughts of appreciation” clearly indicates that an “appreciation” may be seen as a thought.
More on Appreciation As a Thought
In Ask and It Is Given, Abraham-Hicks talks about how what happens when we are (continuously) searching for things to appreciate (p. 146):
“Your thoughts and feelings of appreciation will flow from you naturally.”
This quote actually establishes not just one thing, but two. But before I talk about those two things, I just quickly want to edit that sentence, in order to make it clear for the reader how I am reading it.
Here is what I think they are saying (which also fits with the immediately preceding text surrounding that passage, which is talking about “looking for things to appreciate”):
Your thoughts [of appreciation] and feelings of appreciation will flow from you naturally.
So the first thing this quote establishes is that “appreciation” can be understood as a thought.
The second thing it establishes, or indicates, is that the thoughts come first, and the feelings come as a result of those thoughts.
Thus we once again see the idea of cause and effect that I discussed above: that thoughts generate, or create, or somehow result in, emotions (or feelings).
PART 4: APPRECIATION AS A VIBRATION
Abraham-Hicks talk about “vibration” and “appreciation” in a handful of places. In Money, and the Law of Attraction they say this (p. 193):
“Love and appreciation are identical vibrations.”
And in the next paragraph they continue, saying (p. 193):
“Appreciation is the vibration of alignment with who-you-are.”
But also In Ask and It Is Given do they mention “vibration” and “appreciation” (p. 143):
“…the vibration of appreciation is the most powerful connection between the physical you and the Non-Physical You…”
Having considered these quotes (as well as those which I have not shown here), it seems difficult to conclude anything else than that Abraham-Hicks talks of “appreciation” also as a vibration.
PART 5: GRATITUDE IS NOT APPRECIATION
Some people may use the words “appreciation” and “gratitude” as synonyms. But Abraham-Hicks points out (in Money, and the Law of Attraction, and in other places) that these words are not synonyms at all, and that it is important for us to recognize that.
Thus, they say in their Money, and the Law of Attraction (p. 193):
“…let us talk about the difference between, let us say, gratitude and appreciation. Many people use the words interchangeably, but we do not feel the same vibrational essence in them at all.”
And they continue on the next page (p. 194):
“…because when you feel gratitude, often you are looking at a struggle that you have overcome. In other words, you are happy that you are still not in the struggle, but there is still some of that ‘struggle’ vibration present.”
In essence, then, “gratitude” is not equal to “appreciation”, according to Abraham-Hicks.
This means that, for Abraham-Hicks at least, the American Heritage Dictionary’s second item in their “appreciation” article is a no-go (Morris 1973, p. 64). The AHD-2 item (“Gratefulness; gratitude.”) is thus not a synonym for “appreciation”, as a general rule.
But if we make the distinction between gratitude-1 (“clean” gratitude) and gratitude-2 (“saved” gratitude), as I did in one of my previous articles on the word “appreciation”, we can still consider the AHD-2 item correct, if we limit the meaning of “gratefulness; gratitude” to include only gratitude-1, i.e. “clean” gratitude.
However, in Abraham-Hicks’s world, there seem to be no place for gratitude-2 as a synonym for “appreciation”.
Note also that the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, unlike the the American Heritage Dictionary, does not include “gratefulness” or “gratitude” as synonyms in their article on “appreciation” (Little 1973, p. 93).
In this post we have found three interesting things.
Our first discovery is that when Abraham-Hicks talks about the word “appreciation”, they do so in (at least) four ways: as an emotion, as a feeling, as a thought, and as a vibration.
Our second discovery is that Abraham-Hicks (mostly) do not regard the word “gratitude” as a general synonym to the word “appreciation”. But they might, possibly, agree that the word “appreciation” can be understood in a fifth sense, as gratitude-1 (but definitely not as gratitude-2).
Our third discovery is that Abraham-Hicks is proposing that thoughts generate, produce, or otherwise result in, emotions or feelings.
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2004), Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires. Foreword by Wayne W. Dyer. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2006), The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing. Foreword by Louise L. Hay. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2006), The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham. Foreword by Neale Donald Walsch. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2007), The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2008), Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2019), The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Little, William, et al. (1973), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles. Third Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press. [Link to book]
- Morris, William, ed. (1973), The American Heritage English Dictionary of the English Language. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co.; and Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. [Link to book]
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