Is this among your relationship questions:
If my partner says s/he loves me, why don't I feel appreciated?
It may not be what you think.
When I was a little girl growing up in Canada, I became a Brownie in the Girl Guide movement. Stories played a big part in the learning I received there. I remember one story that has a big impact on today's question. It was about "The Me First Brownie." When we are waiting to get things first, we can wait a long time. And, the moral of that story was that people don't like you so much when you're wanting to be first, or want to get things first.
That Brownie story applies here. It's lovely to be appreciated. It's delightful to hear that you are appreciated. Being seen, heard, known, acknowledged, appreciated, and accepted is the ideal in any committed relationship. But, if you are like the Me First Brownie, you're coming from lack and scarcity. You feel there is something that you need to get, something you're missing, and that someone has to give it to you. And, that's not attractive. In fact, it can be a demonstration of neediness. And, that's certainly not attractive!
That's one of those relationship issues that has to be quickly turned on it's head. Here's how:
- Become an appreciator. Notice what others are doing and make positive comments.
- Be grateful. Give your thanks for the people, things, events, conditions, and circumstances in your life. There is always something to be grateful for.
- Give love without expectation. Anything less is playing the tit-for-tat game, which deadens relationships quickly.
- See good. Within yourself, focus on what is loving, kind, and beautiful. Keep your head out of the fault-finding, "ain't it awful," and "the world sucks" space.
- Work on yourself. Are you the most loving, grateful, appreciative human on the planet? You can aspire to be, but it requires action right now.
Sure, sometimes things are less than wonderful. Sometimes people are less than generous. Sometimes your partner behaves like a jerk, a drama king or queen, or a needy baby. Most folks have their less-than-wonderful moments. I do. You likely do. It happens.
Where your power lies is in the answer to this question: "Who will I be when my partner is less-than-wonderful for a moment, an hour or a day?" S/he may even be less-than-wonderful for a whole week. The questions are still yours:
- How will you respond?
- Will you react and make your partner wrong?
- Will you whine that you are not being the center of the universe?
- Will you throw down the weary gauntlet of "that's not what I signed up for?"
Or, will you turn within and ask yourself who you want to be right now? How can you respond from your personal values, and vision for the world--and the relationship--that you want to live in?
So, if you are not feeling showered with appreciation, it may be that you live with people who don't have it to give. Have compassion for them and, maybe, share this post with them.
It may be that you're playing the tit-for-tat game, and you're waiting for them to give first. Give that up, and go first!
If you want a more generous relationship, be generous. Become the shower. Give first!
(Of course, if there is a pattern of withholding appreciation, affection, love, or respect from one another, that's become an immediate relationship issue. If you're wise, you'll get relationship advice and help quickly. I'm happy to help you through Zoom Private Video.)
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Disclaimer: All advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, video, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than thirty years, she offers her insights and opinions for your consideration only.