Demonstrating Appreciation in Relationships


equal value, emotional healing

“The best way to keep relationships happy, healthy, and supportive can be summed up in one word: appreciation. What you appreciate, appreciates. When we demonstrate our appreciation for the support we receive from others, it reinforces that behaviour and deepens our connection to them.”   Marci Shimoff

This is a beautiful quote. I tried to live my life by these types of quotes in the past, never realizing that they were extremely conflicting for me. Today, this quote works for me in the relationships that I have now but in the past a quote like this actually caused internal, subconscious, harm.

Without realizing it, I was trying to appreciate people who were treating me badly. I didn’t think that I deserved support; I don’t think I even knew what it was so I didn’t see that key part of the quote. Instead, I kept trying to see the positive in abusive people and overlook the negative. That was how I viewed quotes like this one. I thought it meant that I should just ignore the mean stuff. But trying to overlook someone’s ill treatment of me was the same as agreeing with them that I wasn’t really worth being treated properly.

Trying to appreciate a person who devalues you is conflicting;  it’s like putting a band-aid on top of a severed limb that requires surgery, stitches, recovery time and then rehabilitation. 

I am one of those people who fought against depression all my life.  I was bi-polar, likely from a very young age and depressions were connected to my dissociative identity disorder issues. I began seeking solutions in self help programs, seminars and self help books when I was eighteen years old.  I started in 12 step meetings when I was eighteen too.  And for reasons that I could never understand, no matter how much I tried to work those steps, they too were like a band-aid when I needed surgery.

In the past when I read a quote like this one by Marci Shimoff  I tried to focus on appreciating the people in my life that were devaluing me, defining me as not good enough, controlling me and squishing me into the ground.  I tried to concentrate on how wonderful they were and thought that if I was more appreciative ~ which in a victim mindset means more compliant and more subservient, that they would finally reciprocate and appreciate me.  This was all part of my victim mentality which whispered in the deepest part of my mind and belief system, that if I could just find the magic secret recipe for how to make them LOVE me, that they would stop hurting me and love me.

Today I understand and appreciate quotes like this one. I had to get the victim mentality (that I lived in and survived by) sorted out and set right first though.  I had to clean up the old foundation ~ which was rotting and full of gaping life sucking lies and build a new strong and sturdy foundation before quotes like these could serve me.  Trying to implement positive thinking quotes in the past added to my already low self esteem. Subconsciously I just jumped to guilt, shame, self blame and failure thoughts.

Having realized my own value and truly embraced it has enabled me to appreciate the people in my life today from a more truthful and equal viewpoint and THAT has deepened the connections. Appreciation is no longer a one way street. Now that I know my own value, it is easier to appreciate others for who they really are too.

Please share your thoughts about one sided appreciation or about how this article resonates with you.

Darlene Ouimet

Marci Shimoff ~ Is the Best Selling Author of “Happy for No Reason” and “Love for no Reason

Also see ” Keys to Living in the Present ~the passwors is “the past”

39 response to "Demonstrating Appreciation in Relationships"

  1. By: Amber Posted: 25th August

    Pat, please excuse the typos in my post. Spell check has their own idea of what words to put in! But I think the gist of my message came through!

  2. By: Amber Posted: 25th August

    Hi Pat, just read your post and I feel so bad about the way you are being treated. First I just want to tell you that you came to a great site. Darlene is wonderful and has helped me so much over the past three years. I’m still a work in progress but I see relationships so differently now. Growing up I was put down a lot especially silly by my mother and I grew up thinking that trying to earn love by doing chores around the house and squashing my own needs was normal. Now I realize it is not. Love is NOT a one way street where one person is doing all the giving ( in hopes of being lived in return) while the other does all the taking. That was my relationship with my mother through childhood and adulthood. It was wrong, but it took this site to get me to see the truth. And it affected other relationships in my life too. I never felt good enough and felt I had to give up myself and do for others to try to get love.
    Pat, I think that by questioning whether what your husband says is ” normal”, that you have taken the first step. It sounds like something seems very ” off” to you about the way you are being treated. You went to the doctor and had an Injection, and the doctor told you to rest. But your husband expects you to show ” appreciation” by doing hours if cleaning instead. I can’t tell you what to do ( we are not supposed to give advice here, but to share experiences that could be helpful) but there are some things you might want to think about. I played a subservient rifle got most of my life. But I finally came to realize that many things were unfair. Many times I got stuck doing things because Im the female. Like holidays for instance. Being the only female on both sides of the family where my spouse and I only have brothers, I would get stuck cooking every holiday. For a while my husband didn’t understand. He would just ask who else is gonna cook?there are no other women. I finally said I am not gonna be a slave so everyone else can have a happy holiday while I am getting exhausted with cleaning , cooking, serving and cleaning up. We started going out on some holidays once my husband looked at it from my side and saw the unfairness. Ask yourself if the situation was reversed and your husband wasn’t feeling well, would you expect him to mow the lawn, take out the trash, do work around the house etc. are you supposed to carry the load of chores just because you are a female? Is it a two way street in your house where understanding of both your needs and his are considered, or is it just you who is supposed to work around the house and give while he takes? Does he have a sense of entitlement because he is a man? Is it all about him and his needs? How are your needs and wants regarded?
    What I have learned, especially from Darlene is that love should be a two way street where both people are considered equal in value and it’s about what is best for BOTH. Just some things to keep in mind when you are thinking things through about your relationship. I wish you the best.

  3. By: Pat Hale Posted: 24th August

    I was looking for sites about appreciation & came across this one. My spouse is always putting me down & degrading me. Tells me I’m crazy, worthless & not a woman. Today we got into an argument on our way back from my having a spinal injection & he says I don’t know how to show appreciation. When I told him that I always thank him for everything he does whether it is taking me to my doctor or taking me to dinner he said that isn’t how u show appreciation. He says the way to do that is to clean house everyday & make sure his dinner is on the table when he gets home & give him sex whenever he wants it. I am disabled & cannot work or do things I use to do & it’s extremely hard for me to keep up with the cleaning the way he expects. For example as soon as I returned from the spine center today I had to spend 3 hrs cleaning just so I didn’t have to listen to him screaming & degrading me. I was suppose to be resting & not doing anything for at least 24 hrs but I didn’t listen to the doctor & did what my partner wanted. Is this normal? He says it is & is constantly saying there is nothing wrong with me but I’m lazy & nuts! Please help! I’m running out of options!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th August

      Hi Pat
      Welcome to EFB ~ How does he appreciate you? He expects you to clean when the DR has advised you not to? Where is the love in that? Just because he says that you are lazy, etc. doesn’t mean that you are. Love is not all about one person doing and being who the other wants. It is mutual and it is respectful.
      I am glad you are here,
      hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Julie Posted: 21st January

    This article was eye-opening for me because I do the very same thing.I do believe that when we are taught to respect a parent that is abusive, we also see to it that we try to appreciate them in hopes that they will see us for who we really are, and love us… But unfortunately, this becomes a life-long habit of believing that we aren’t worth anything and that we must prove our worth through downgrading ourselves into a subservient position, which includes forgiving the abuse to the unhealthy point of accepting the abuse and believing you are doing good by by accepting it. Thus, the pattern is continued in present relationships, and the self esteem thus cannot rise up, for we cannot see who we really are. The willingness to accept ill treatment in exchange for some sort of attention which we misinterpret as ‘love’ is a devaluing of our souls and worth.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st January

      Hi Julie
      Yes, that is what this entire website is about! Finding out what love really is and what it is not played a huge part on my journey back to me! Thank you for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Annabelle Posted: 20th January

    I have had such a hard time reconciling myself to all the self help psychology out there for exactly the same reason.

    There really are so many quotes that are completely wrong or if not outright wrong, they are misleading.

    A lot of self help stuff out there depends on everyone being cooperative nice people, and you simply opening up to that, when in reality it is a jungle out there, and you need to have firm boundaries that may require total disengagement with some people for your own self protection.

  6. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th January

    Hi Amy
    I am glad you are here and I am glad that this is resonating with you!
    Hugs, Darlene

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.