Got Appreciation?

Lori and I have stopped at a lot of Subway sandwich shops this last year. The price, quality, and calorie count are all good, and you can usually find a Subway near the highway and in or next to someplace that can handle a big RV. 

Being a people watcher at heart, I watch how the various employees relate to their customers and to each other. From the Mennonite lady who was very gentle with the clueless new employee to the I-deserve-a-better-job manager who felt no one was competent, how these folks act tells a lot about how they feel about themselves.

Depressed woman Image Credit: © Jack F |

Our last Subway stop, the final day of our journey home, it was obvious the woman in charge didn’t feel appreciated. She was continually talking about all the problems they were facing and the things she was doing or wanted to do to resolve the problems. The subtext of her message was “This place would fall apart without me, and no one gives me the credit I deserve.”

This woman may or may not be the only employee there who really cares, but her angst comes from something deeper. I have no doubt she feels unappreciated by her friends and family. And I have no doubt she has felt this way for most of her life. Odds are good this goes back to her childhood. 

I’m sure she had been dismissed often, and she likely deserves more respect than she gets. Her behaviour is begging for that, but in reality, she just puts people off. She is blocking the very thing she craves. Her life has become a self-fulfilling story; she expects more of the same and without meaning to do so she invites it.

Are you less appreciated than you should be? This is a reality for many wives, and especially for those with small children. It’s not right, but making a big deal about it is counterproductive. A better strategy is to know in yourself that what you’re doing is important. When you value what you do you don’t need the accolades of others as much. When you know what you do matters you feel better about yourself and this makes it easier to do more that matters. It becomes a virtuous cycle, and you and those around you benefit.

For the record, you have worth and value. God loves you just as you are. He’s okay with you being a mixture of beauty and brokenness, and He wants you to be okay with it too. Do what you know you should and feel good about it.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I hate how the world dumps on women.

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13 Comments on “Got Appreciation?

  1. Thank you. Thus is exactly the reminder I needed today. I’ve been looking around for validation too much, and need to remember to look up instead.
    I’m doing what I’ve been called to do by my Lord and I am doing it for Him. To be confident in that is all I need.

  2. Wow, Paul, this might be your best post, ever. For me anyway. I have this issue, and no one has ever explained it as clearly as you do in the post above. Yes, a lot of this comes from childhood, being expected to handle a lot at a very young age, without the benefit of appreciation.

    It also explains why, when I lament on these blogs (in the comments) because I thought it was a safe place to share my feelings, I get a lot of pushback from other commenters. Things along the lines of “hey you shouldn’t complain, you should believe your husband when he says you are beautiful, so what if he does anything hurtful ever, you should just blow it off and live a delusional life thinking he loves you even if he goes for long stretches without wanting to have sex with you like most husbands do with the wives they are actually attracted to, you should stop complaining and be all sunshine and roses like the rest of us.” And then I feel like a loser who should just keep my mouth shut and paste a smile on my face and be phoney.

    Perhaps what is actually happening is what you mention above. The part about begging for respect (or validation?) and in reality putting people off.

    And @Virginina, I love your reminder that instead of looking around I need to look up.

    Thanks Paul, for the post which hit home and clarifies a great deal. It’s given me MUCH to think about.

    • @B – Of course I was able to hit this so well because I’ve struggled with it myself. For the most part, I don’t feel it anymore, and when I do I generally see it for what it is. But I do see habits of speech I still have from this, and dealing with those is difficult.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Do You Feel Appreciated?My Profile

  3. This really resonated with me. I had a hysterectomy three weeks ago and have had to spend a lot of time resting, not lift anything (still can’t do that for three more weeks), couldn’t go upstairs until a few days ago. I have four children and it became very obvious which ones appreciate what I do and which ones don’t. Two of them really pitched in and helped cook and clean and make sure I had anything I needed. The other two didn’t change their habits at all. My husband also showed that he doesn’t appreciate me as much as he should. We ran errands this past Saturday and being my first real outing it drained me. He was upset that I didn’t help with dinner and didn’t seem to care that I was in a lot of pain and exhausted. Since sex is off the table while I heal he wants me to take care of his needs in other ways but doesn’t consider that some days when he wants that I’m just not up to it. I have good days and bad days as I recover. I can tell when I’ve done too much one day and have to spend most of the next day in bed. When you can’t do the things you usually do it’s an eye opener to who appreciates what you do on a regular basis.

    • @T I recall the six-week hysterectomy recovery. There were days when I felt so energized in the morning and then so frustrated that by noon I was spent. I imagine your husband deeply misses intimacy with you and feels it’s not appropriate for him to show that in a tender way (wouldn’t be manly) so it’s being expressed in angry ways. Watching you go through this may also be frightening for him. Being upset that “you didn’t help with dinner” could be a cover for some of these feelings.

    • @T – The man who serves his wife well after childbirth ensures good things for himself for years to come. The man who does not serve his wife well creates resentment.
      I pray your hubby gets wiser, and I pray you can give him love and grace beyond what he has earned.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Do You Feel Appreciated?My Profile

      • Yes, I am still hurt to the core for not being treated well post partum. I have a little more grace about it, though, because I endured 5 years of caretaking my ill husband and there were times I was scared, frustrated, lonely, and overwhelmed, but I did my best not to take it out on him.

        I knew a lady who had to have surgery and knew her family wouldn’t care for her, so she made arrangements with friends and extended family to stay with them for the initial part of her recovery. Her husband didn’t even take her to the hospital, visit her, or pick her up. Her friends did it all.

        I have actually told her that I hope I never become ill or injured severely because I do not trust my husband to selflessly care for me. He can’t even get through me having a 24 hour stomach bug. The house falls to pieces of I nap off a bad headache.

        • @libl – Some folks don’t deal well with illness or injury – it freaks them out. So some of the failure is not about lack of concern, but about not being able to cope.
          But it still hurts!
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Confronting Her SinMy Profile

  4. So basically I, as a woman, who have completely unappreciated for the last 6 years of my marriage (that’s my whole marriage FYI) should just continue to bust my butt while I get treated like crap and I shouldn’t say anything? You can’t magically make yourself “know your worth”. It doesn’t work like that. Especially when most of the things I do are only because that’s what my husband wants and I’m trying to be subservient. I get no joy from those things and I get no appreciation either. Sitting there quietly taking it doesn’t get me anywhere. Trust me. I did that for the first 5 years.

    • @Kushina – I’m not excusing his behaviour. But complaining (and by complaining I mean bitching) doesn’t fix it, it just makes the situation worse.
      If we get our sense of worth and value from others, we are forever at their mercy. If they are loving and kind that’s not horrible, but if they are selfish or hurtful it’s a really bad thing. It is possible to change and feel worth and value based on what we do regardless of how others treat us.
      BTW, I see nothing in the Bible that says a woman is to be subservient (prepared to obey unquestioningly; less important). It’s not what I want from my wife, and I don’t know how you can have a healthy marriage if it’s what your husband wants. Bur that’s another post.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Confronting Her SinMy Profile

  5. Sometimes the issue becomes one of expectation. When you go the extra mile from a place of love or generosity, and the recipient acts as if it’s something you should being doing because you are their wife, mother, daughter, employee, friend, etc., hurt feelings may arise. It can become about their expectations of you. Your act of love and generosity is seen as a minimum requirement rather than something you don’t have to do. At that point, you may need to decide whether or not to continue giving in that way. Sometimes it depends on whether or not you can keep a loving spirit in that area without expecting appreciation in return. I know I’ve had to make some of those decisions with people. I had to get to a point where my heart and spirit were right to continue giving in certain ways without any expectation of appreciation. Once I quit expecting appreciation from these people, I quit getting upset when it didn’t happen.

    Also, I think appreciation can be like love languages. It can be expressed and received in different ways. In some cases, appreciation is being expressed but not in a way it can be received by the intended recipient. Unfortunately, this leaves one feeling unappreciated when that’s not the case at all.

    • @K – I fear you are right. How do we go the extra mile, make it clear we are going the extra mile, but not seem like we are looking for a reward or praise?
      Quite the pickle.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Confronting Her SinMy Profile

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