Thursday, November 26, 2009

5 Ways to Get the Support and Appreciation You've Been Craving in Your Relationship

By Amy Phillips-Gary

Jack works hard so that his family can live comfortably. He works long days at the office and then attends to his wife's “honey do” list when he gets home. To Jack, all of his efforts seem to go unnoticed by his family.

What he wouldn't give for just a little appreciation for all that he does; some morsel of support wouldn't hurt either!

Have you ever felt like Jack in your relationships?

It seems to you that you work and you sacrifice for your family, your partner or even your friendship and nobody gives you thanks for your efforts. In fact, it may even feel as if you're being taken for granted much of the time.

Wanting to feel appreciated and supported are common experiences for people in relationships.

When you don't feel supported or appreciated by those close to you, resentment and anger can quickly develop. As you probably already know, resentment and anger usually lead to tension and disconnection between you and the people you care about.

You might feel stuck.

You really want to feel that sense of support and gratitude from others, but you don't want to make waves. You might even acknowledge that your partner or others in your relationship are also working hard-- it's not just you who is sacrificing.

So now you may feel resentful and guilty at the same time. This is a downward spiral that isn't going to help you build a healthier, closer and more satisfying relationship!

Instead, try these suggestions...

*Treat yourself the way that you want the other person to treat you.

Too many times we rely on the people around us to fill a void within that we are unwilling to fill for ourselves. This might include: not honoring your true desires, saying yes or no in certain situations just because you think you “should” or putting your physical health on hold in order to care for others.

How can you begin to create an environment of greater support for yourself?

Make a list of specific ways that you want to feel supported and appreciated and then start treating yourself accordingly. Of course, you want those close to you to positively add to this supportive environment-- but you can lead the way and be responsible for your own well-being too.

*Be honest and request what you want from the other person.

You can state your request for more support and appreciation in ways that actually bring you closer to the person or people in your relationships.

You might say, “I know that we've both been burning the candle at both ends lately. I'd like us to talk about ways that we can more fully support each other and connect. Here's one way that I'd like to be supported.... How can I better support you?”

*Express your appreciation for the other person.

Quite often, we can become caught up in the unsatisfactory ways that we are being treated and do not realize that we are engaging in the same behaviors. If you want more appreciation, give more appreciation-- both to yourself and to the other person.

In just about every case, what you put out comes back to you multiplied.

*Notice the improvements.

When you feel lack, it can be easy to fall into the trap of only seeing the lack. It could be that your partner does show you appreciation, for example, but you can't see it because you are focusing only on what he or she is doing that seems wrong or neglectful.

Sometimes the appreciation or support comes in “little” acts or words that can easily be overlooked.

Be aware of what the other person is doing that helps you feel supported. You can always thank the person for his or her efforts and then ask for specific changes, if necessary.

*Keep yourself in an open and receiving mode.

Even as we might crave more support and appreciation in our relationships, many of us walk around closed down and, consequently, we limit what we can receive from others.

People close to us may actually be trying to give us what we desperately want, but we can't let it in.

Your kids might see you as infallible and able to do it all, because that's the outward “mask” you usually wear. Maybe they've even offered to help you in the past but, for one reason or another, you sent the message that you will carry the load all by yourself.

Now that you want support or appreciation, it's not there and you can't figure out why.

Be willing to ask for help, support and the thanks that you desire-- and then be willing to receive it.

The sharing that can happen as you communicate what you want and then stay open to receive it can be amazing.

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