I noticed today that I didn’t feel appreciated by another. Then I remembered how my husband didn’t feel appreciated by me. Byron Katie’s “The Work” comes to mind and reminds me to first question if it’s true that “you don’t appreciate me”. I may feel that way and so say yes (but I am not, because I know this isn’t true). The second question to ask is: “can I absolutely know that this is true?” No, of course not.
The third question Katie asks is, “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?” When I believe that I am not appreciated, I blame the other, and make requests or demands (in my head, at least) that he would need to fulfil so that I do feel appreciated. I also build a wall against that person, and don’t want to be open and vulnerable anymore.
The final question she asks is, “Who would you be without that thought, and turn the initial thought around around and find three genuine examples of how the turnaround is true.” Without the thought that “You don’t appreciate me”, I feel lighter. I have a sense of expanding, of being held, of openness, and that I can be anyone I want to be. It feels freeing to not need the validation from others.
The turnarounds of “You don’t appreciate me” would be:
“I don’t appreciate me.” This is absolutely true. I consistently negate the efforts I take at loving and appreciating myself and don’t celebrate my successes.
“I don’t appreciate you.” Quite likely this is true. I tend to focus on the things you do that piss me off, rather than the things you do that are wonderful. In the midst of my anger in not feeling appreciated, I was able to tap into how much I still wanted to be with this person, and how much love I feel. I called him to tell him so, and it felt like, in that moment, my anger dissipated.
“You do appreciate me.” Yes, this is true. I have seen examples of ways you appreciate me, through words and behaviours.