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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tonics for the Underappreciated




I WONDER IF there have been any studies undertaken into the apparent (or not) correlation between burnout and depression, and feeling underappreciated.


Certainly, to feel appreciated is important to everyone, but it’s more important for particular people, perhaps, for example, with an ‘achievement’ gene woven into their psychological DNA. Frustration for the purpose-driven is to get nowhere; to sense there is no feedback for the effort expended.


For the achiever, appreciation is easy: simply note what they have achieved and the meaning in that achievement.


The Love Languages in Appreciation


Many people want to be appreciated for just who they are. They don’t need to have achieved anything to have the inbuilt expectation: the need to be praised. For some this is approval; for others it is acceptance. Whatever it is, it’s valid.


Some like to help and therefore draw their need to be appreciated from their intent, or their philanthropic effort—it’s not an achievement base, but positive feedback for the love that when into the effort, that saved someone time, effort, money, or ingenuity.


There is a band of humanity that loves to give as good as they get, notionally in the tangibility of gifts. Something that goes as a keepsake is also something shown off, or reflected over. This is where appreciation finds physical form.


A hug or some physical contact is all some require, or some affirmation of physical presence. Again, there is the reward, for some, that time will be invested—‘You appreciate me when you spend time with me’ is the sentiment, here.


Finding Appreciation


Just how do we find appreciation when we need it? It doesn’t just appear from thin air, at times. Indeed, appreciation comes mostly in thick chunks, but with many lean times between.


If appreciation is important to us, the good news is our faith is bound to grow stronger if we’ll let it. Like opportunities at patience, growth periods come from practice. As we endure dry times of little or no feedback, our faith directs us to focus on the approval, appreciation, and acceptance of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is an eternal reality.


As we venture in dry faith, we correspondingly become more patient. Then, during times of wealth-of-appreciation we don’t let it get to our heads. Instead, we remind ourselves of the human propensity to flatter.


Sometimes the best way to find appreciation is to creatively appreciate somebody else.


***


The irony of appreciation is, as we actively seek it out it wafts into the ether, as if it was never there, and as we forget even the need for it, there it is!


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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