When you appreciate someone, you value that person; you respect that person; you give that person a special place in your life. When you appreciate someone’s work you praise their performance, you show respect, and you motivate them to grow professionally so they can continue performing greatly. Based on the definition I found on www.webster.com, appreciation is a “feeling or expression of admiration, approval or gratitude”. Therefore, the way you treat someone represents the value that person has for you. Note that I am not saying that it is the actual value of that person, because we are all valuable and nobody can define our worth by the way someone else feels for us. Your worth and their feelings are two separate things.
Having said that, it is shameful that many people treat others as if they were objects. Some people take advantage of others and use them as they please to later dispose of them. The continuous mistreatment can damage a person’s self-esteem. As a result, the mistreated person will tend to accept mistreatment more and more, because it becomes the norm. Unfortunately, the mistreated individual becomes accustomed to this type of abuse and as a result can even believe they are worth to be treated that way. I am not only talking about love relationships, but this can also happen in the workplace, between family members, and between friends.
It is important to recognize when we are not being appreciated. It is important to learn how to manage the feelings of rejection and mistreatment by not making them personal. At the end of the day, the person who does not appreciate you, even though you have given your best (into the work, into the friendship, or into the relationship), is the one with the problem. If you have evaluated yourself and corrected your behavior (because hey! We all can make some improvements), but still you are being mistreated, disrespected, and not appreciated; then it is best FOR YOU to cut off that relationship. On the other hand, if you are constantly finding flaws in people, perhaps you are the one who cannot appreciate the beauty of the people around you. Perhaps, you need to evaluate yourself and find out why is it that you cannot appreciate people the way they deserve to be appreciated.
The process of the realization that you are not being appreciated could be difficult because, like I mentioned, if you are accustomed to being mistreated it becomes “normal”, but the key to this realization are the feelings of unworthiness that you encounter. These feelings are your warning signs! It is not normal to be constantly screamed at! It is not normal to be constantly blamed for things that are not under your control! It is not normal to be hit, slapped, or punched! It is not normal to be forced into having sex! It is not normal for a person to say, “I love you” and then dispose of you as if you are a trash bag. It is not normal to be insulted or disrespected at work! It is not normal to be told that “you are special” but then treated like an option or be left in “standby”. It is not normal to have relationship privileges (after you have expressed your feelings to a person) and be referred to as “my friend” or have that person deny any sort of bonding with you. These kinds of behaviors are wrong and abusive; they are toxic. Be on the lookout! Pay attention to your gut feeling. It is there for a reason. When a person truly appreciates you, that person will never act the way I mentioned above. However, a person who has been abused or that suffers from depression could be greatly affected by these kinds of treatments and not be able to cut the ties of these toxic relationships. They might feel like they are unworthy of love and respect, and because of those feelings of unworthiness they are willing to continue in the relationship in order to “prove” and convince the abusive person that they are in fact worthy of their love and respect… This becomes a dangerous cycle that only benefits one side and completely discredit the other.
If you have ever encountered these feelings of unworthiness and you don’t know how to overcome them, I think that it is important for you to seek professional help. If you are currently in a working environment that is toxic and unappreciative of your performance, you need to leave. If you are encountering any of these feelings among friends or family members, you need to cut those ties or establish boundaries. If you are in a relationship with someone you love and you are continuously feeling down, unvalued, mistreated, or not considered as important as they are to you in their lives…It is time to leave that relationship. This is the most difficult part of loving ourselves…to cut out the people we love! It is hard because we have attachment issues. It hard because we love them so much and we fear we will miss them. It is hard because it is your mother, or it is your father, or it is your sister, or it is the person that you are in love with… But why carry with ANYONE’S mistreatment and lack of appreciation? Loving yourself is letting them go, not because you don’t love them but because you love yourself MORE.
Listen to those feelings of unworthiness because they are the ones that are speaking to you! No! Those feelings are actually SCREEMING at you, letting you know that you need to do something about it. Letting you know it is NOT OK to feel down. Letting you know that you’ve had enough! Letting you know that you deserve better because you are WORTHY! Protect yourself and keep yourself sane. Don’t focus on your idealization of those relationships or of those people because you’ve idealized those people because of what they represent to you, but not because of how they have appreciated you. Focus on the reality of what you are receiving instead. That is your truth. Actions are the true colors of people’s feelings for you, but again, their feelings don’t define your worth.
When you learn your VALUE, you will be able to appreciate your OWN self! You won’t be accepting anything less than what you know you deserve. If someone truly loves you, they will definitely show appreciation and respect for you, and YOU won’t be having any doubts of your worth. Always listen to your gut feeling…it always talks to you (and sometimes it even screams at you). Free yourself from that feeling of unworthiness because of someone else’s lack of capacity or emotional maturity to see how wonderful and unique you are. Walk away. Grab your heart and walk away with your self-love. You’ll be happier without them!