Appreciation: Good Culture to Cultivate

Oct 26 , 2019
By Eden Sahle

We live in an era where people do not like to appreciate others. Most are losing the capacity to distinguish a noble act from political ideology or differences. Often Ethiopian society does not appreciate individuals as it should. We are in the sort of culture that magnifies the sad and the bad, not the good.

Our society generally judges negatively those who achieve something and seek recognition rightfully. Having confidence in oneself is subtly mocked, which leads to low self-esteem and national inefficiency. People work hard to be the same as the person next to them, because having a different idea or aspiring to do things differently is perceived as arrogance or odd.

Society is trying to create people who act and think the same, which is unnatural. Even if we do not recognise it now, the negative long-term consequences of such an attitude are immeasurable.

Believing in our natural abilities to accomplish anything that we put our heart and mind to makes us fruitful change makers. Acknowledging achievements should not be considered arrogance. Disregarding this could hamper our personal and professional growth, not to mention the country’s development.

Research shows that people with truncated self-worth tend to see the world as a hostile planet and themselves as its victims. As a result, they are reluctant to express and assert themselves, miss out on experiences and opportunities and feel powerless to change things for the better.

Identifying oneself with negative thoughts such as powerlessness and hiding accomplishments is perceived to be humility. It is society’s way of knocking down the individual capacity in us with a version that conforms to fruitlessness.

People are fine with everything until a person starts recognising their good deeds. Appreciating oneself or others is never seen constructively. Perceiving oneself as a unique, special and valuable person is considered a wrong and exaggerated perception of oneself.

Over the weekend, I was watching Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, give a live televised address during his book launching ceremony. I could not help but notice that he was struggling to bluntly speak about his achievement of winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace deal with Eritrea making Ethiopia the 6th African country after Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Liberia and Ghana to win the Nobel Prize. It’s great that he wants to give the credit to the Ethiopian people, but that should not come at the expense of his achievement. His efforts to bring peace and harmony between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which had developed enmity over two decades, was indeed a big achievement.

As a victim of the Ethio-Eritrea War who grew up apart from my mother and who lost young cousins and relatives from Eritrea, I am very happy to see that the Prime Minister got recognised for choosing peace over hostility, justice over political grandstanding.

The peace now will not bring back the perished lives from both sides, but it brought new hope and a bright future for the two nations. It is a new start for the two nations not to repeat what they have done in the past and not to fail their public once more.

No doubt that Ethiopia has a long way to go, and there is so much to be done to bring unity within the country and to come out of stubborn poverty. But this does not mean that we should not recognise and appreciate progress. The existence of other massive problems within the country should not hide the fix made somewhere. Progress does not come overnight, but it springs up from every great, consistent and intentional act that can bring practical solutions to problems.

Individual efforts should be highlighted so that society can learn we all have our individual roles to play to achieve a common good. We need to take ourselves out of the group mentality that takes credit for the hard work of individuals or takes the blame for the bad deeds of others. It is by doing this that we can get out of this mess once and for all and take responsibility for our actions not in groups but individually. This is how the developed nations prospered. They tap into individual potential and motivate others to rise as well.

Progress is attained when we all do worthwhile things for ourselves and our country and stay committed to those valuable goals. Leaders should encourage this rather than undermine it. The strength to make improvements in our society must come from deep within the very core of our individual being.

If we do not recognise the good deeds in ourselves and in others, we will never be able to see more progress. Despite political differences, all achievements should not be denied by anyone.

We will do a service to ourselves if we never hesitate to appreciate others and change self-limiting cultures. It is important to become conscious of our attitude and guide our focus toward encouraging enlightening actions. We must admit that we all have our talents, skills and abilities that make us extraordinary individuals. Incorporating this awareness into our attitude and personality not only helps us appreciate the good in us but also in other people as well.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 26,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1017]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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