Tell me something.
Waking up early in the morning, how often do you feel thrilled?
Every day? Now and then? Ever?
Instead, rambling bells blow up the silence of your bedroom, ripping you out of the abyss of sleep. Your heart scared out of the rhythm, bumps frantically against the chest.
And all you wish is to slide deeper under the covers, back into the lethargy of sleep.
There, in your dreams…
…Gentle kisses pull you up to a surface of consciousness.
“Good morning, baby bird. Your breakfast is ready.”
He leads you out to a porch. A neatly set breakfast-table is waiting there for you. Ladybugs on the tablecloth look alive in the morning breeze. Smells of flowers and damp earth saturate your lungs with freshness.
“I want to thank you, baby bird. I truly appreciate you.”
He takes your hand in his.
“Ready for the coffee, love?”
You drag yourself out of bed.
Hello, new day. I’ve lived you so many times.
I Know I’m Good (but Tell Me That, Please)
You know that…you think you do.
Helping people is your profession and your call. You could’ve been the boss, but your family means more.
Your home is an oasis of privacy in the middle of a chaotic world. A place of calm retreat and quiet conversations. Hot discussions and happy celebrations.
You care for your honey, kids, and the kids of their kids. You support your ill mother and look after your fiend’s fish.
You love to give…if people just cared to notice. If they appreciated what you do; acknowledged your achievements; complimented you on your looks.
What a welcomed whiff of fresh air that would be.
But they rarely do.
And you wonder.
Lesson #1: The Beginning of a Treasure Hunt
I’ve been there too. Feeling unnoticed and taken for granted. Longing for appreciation and gratitude.
Until a rebellion inside me raised her head, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more instead?”
“Indeed, why not?”
Here’s my recipe for self-appreciation:
Switch autopilot off and be present.
Pay attention to every moment – life is happening right now. Capture nuances and details. Breathe deep and focus on what you do. Get on that train, don’t watch it running by.
Adopt a positive mindset.
Control your thoughts. Stop brooding and imagining the worse. Think of something that makes you feel good instead – your kid’s smile and coming vacation, or a person who always makes you laugh.
Stop watching TV and distance yourself from negative people.
Turn inner critic into a friend.
Ask her to be kind instead of torturing and nagging. Let her pinpoint possible pitfalls like a good friend would. Pay attention and be prepared.
Write down what you do.
At work, at home, and between.
Remember a “how-are-you, mum?” call. And a visit to a hospital to cheer up your ill friend. A few bucks to a homeless person on the street.
Things you had and wanted to do. And the things that made this day a little bit happier for you or easier for somebody else.
Make lists every day, for a month, and evaluate them on weekends.
Ask yourself: “ What would I say to a friend if it was her list?”
Lesson #2: Lost in Translation
Learning to appreciate myself did me good.
But it wasn’t enough.
I still wanted to hear the words. Loud and clear.
Was it just me?!
“We all need appreciation,” said Ernst – the therapist – pushing his glasses on top of his pointy nose. “Why you don’t get it is a good question, though. What would you say to a person complimenting you?”
“Um…No need…that was nothing. Or just change the subject,” I replied under my breath.
“And how would that make him feel?”
“Wish he never said that?” – sinking deeper into my chair.
“Yes, rejected,” he nodded lively at me. “Live and learn.” “And here’s your bill.”
Don’t turn people off. Or they never will bother saying nice things to you again.
A simple “thank you” would do.
Lesson #3: A Two-Way Road
We get comfortable with each other after a while. Feel relaxed and off-guard. Simply safe.
And that’s great, but…
There’s a backside to it too – we start taking each other for granted. Forgetting to appreciate what we have.
As a client of mine who honestly wondered, “Why would I thank him for something he’s supposed to do? We’re a family after all.”Appreciation is a two-way road.Click To Tweet
Family or not. You might be forgetting that too.
Stop complaining about not being appreciated and make a list: “What I appreciate my husband/mother/son/colleague for.”
Update it now and then.
Use your list as a reminder to be appreciative yourself.
Couple’s Therapy? No Way!
“You’re so…so a psychologist!” – my son exploded with a passion of an angry teenager.
So I am.
And a determined one. I just had to know how happy relationships work. For my family, my clients, and myself.
And there we were – attending a couple’s workshop, watching anxiously fellow participants.
“What I appreciate about you is…” – Time washed out my husband’s words. But my answer surprised us both, “I thank you for appreciating me. It makes me feel loved.”
Later, he asked: “Why didn’t you tell me long ago?”Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in a relationship, including appreciation.Click To Tweet
But do it right.
You’re done redecorating the living room, rightfully proud of yourself. Share the excitement with your partner: “I just love the fresh look of the living room. It took me long to get all the details to fit. Let me show you, honey. What do you think?”
Or feeling great about your looks, make sure to get his attention and say, “Don’t I look beautiful tonight? Thank you for taking me out, love.”
Use your own words and enjoy the appreciation.
You worth it.
Find Your Way
Your relationships with other people reflect a degree of your self-love.
Appreciate more. People around you and self.Start a daily ritual of appreciation – it only takes a minute or two.Click To Tweet
Tell your loved one:
“What I love/appreciate about you right now is…”
Let him take it in.
Listen to him. Feel love flow throw your body. Thank him for sharing.
And if someone someday forgets to appreciate you – and he will – don’t complain. Forgive and give yourself a treat instead.
You deserve it.
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