Let's explore our Indian culture....
The Appreciator (the one giving the appreciation)
How many of us genuinely know how to appreciate? The appreciator is clumsy giving it and if the receiver is of the opposite gender, the appreciator is worried about what the receiver would think! Nowadays appreciating someone from the same gender isn't easy too. Even a Leader doesn't know how to give it. When appreciation is given in a 'open' environment, onlookers make faces that range from "Why" to "Flirt!!!". Sometimes even the receiver tries to find out the 'underlying intention' behind the appreciation.
The Receiver (the one being appreciated)
Secondly how many of us know how to "accept" appreciation? When appreciated, we are 'embarrassed' , we don't know how to react or respond, so we start a 'defensive' process. I recollect an incident; I appreciated (genuinely :-)) a participant as she looked lovely in a Sari that she had worn for her final presentation in a Presentation Skills Program. She felt awkward, looked down, mumbled that it's was her mother's sari (Indian traditional dress), turned around and sat down. When it was time for her to 'present' she started stammering the moment she looked at me. Needles to say, I felt guilty.
Teaching feedback and appreciation is also difficult! You brief participants that first they should give positive feedback and then put across the 'areas of improvement' . But if this process isn't facilitated, most of the participants first start the negatives. Giving positive feedback (includes appreciation) is soo difficult to most of us Indians.
Could it be because our parents don't give it?
Could it be because our teachers don't teach us this?
Could it be because most of our friends don't use it?
Could it be because our Seniors & Colleagues don't know how to give it?
Even Spouses rarely use it!!!
Therefore we would have to consciously use appreciation but should be done rightly and at the right time. Once we get used to this skill, then it is easier to use it, comes naturally and genuinely and becomes a habit.
And initially if it doesn't sound genuine, I think that's fine? At least one is learning the art of giving appreciations!