Updated: Oct 14, 2020
This week, I met with my colleague to sign a lease on a new, bigger office for us in our same location. She thanked me for finding and viewing the office and reaching out to her to share it. That felt good for me. I felt seen and valued for what I had done. Showing appreciation usually involves just saying a few words and it can make a big difference to the person you appreciate and can nurture your relationship with them.
Appreciation and Gratitude
I wrote an earlier blog about the mental health benefits of gratitude. Sometimes we think of gratitude and appreciation as the same thing. We can distinguish the two if we think of gratitude as feeling thankful for the benefits you receive from the things and people in your life. In contrast, appreciation is about acknowledging the value of someone, their qualities and their acts. We can feel grateful, and then communicate appreciation.
Appreciation in Our Intimate Relationships
Showing appreciation helps staff feel valued by their managers and helps children feel valued by their parents. With our intimate partners, showing appreciation is particularly important as it nurtures connection, trust, and intimacy in the relationship. Your partner wants to feel validated; to feel that you see them, that you care about them, and that you believe what they are doing is important.
Unfortunately, over time in some relationships more negative perspectives take over and we criticize our partner more than we show appreciation. When someone feels criticized and not valued, they can become discouraged about the relationship and may want to look elsewhere for validation-to work, friendships or other relationships for example.
Showing appreciation is a gift we can give our partner. Set aside judgement and criticism, and offer them that gift. Look for things your partner does and qualities they have that you value and tell them. This can boost your partner’s emotional and psychological well-being and increase their desire to give back to you with appreciation and emotional generosity. Showing appreciation can strengthen the bond between you and help your relationship grow.