Why do some people not appreciate each other

If, based on my professional experience, you ask me which competence I would like a person to have in the first place (if I could only choose one competence), then today I would opt for “appreciation competence”. Most interpersonal problems, but also many problems in dealing with oneself (keyword: self-esteem problem), should deal with themselves through a sufficient degree of appreciation (self-respect). The somewhat misshapen-sounding term stands for similar other terms such as respect, appreciation, respect, acceptance, affirmation, appreciation, attention and - in the broadest sense - also love. It contains much more than the term “tolerance”. The opposite of appreciative behavior is “devaluation” (contempt ”) or“ ignorance ”(= behaving as if the others do not exist). The latter is one of the cruellest forms of "punishment" ever.

Many people suffer all their life from the fact that they were not sufficiently perceived as children and therefore not valued ("observed" or "loved"). Many of them therefore continue to thirst for recognition or regulate their self-esteem by the fact that - similar to their parents before - they tend to devalue rather than appreciate themselves or others. Such behavior is usually not “malicious” or “stupid”, but rather the result of one's own learning history (“You don't know it any other way”). You then continue to treat others and yourself as an adult as you were treated ("observed") as a child. Such an experience is sometimes passed on from generation to generation.

Many more or less minor everyday conflicts (such as forgetting flowers on the wedding day) often have their roots in too seldom experienced appreciation. Those who value others help them to achieve a positive form of “reflection”, with the help of which they can get to know each other better and develop a good (!) And healthy self-awareness as well as helpful forms of interpersonal relationships.

Appreciation competence plays an important role with regard to several phenomena, namely with regard to

- our own person

- our fellow human beings

- life and the opportunities that come with it

- the moment (mindfulness).

This text is aimed primarily at people who have not yet experienced the development-promoting effect of attention and have therefore not been able to internalize it as a model of interpersonal interaction. In extreme cases, the people concerned may even experience “contempt” with the result that they are ashamed of their idiosyncrasies to this day and therefore hide them as much as possible (see the Shame leaflet).

How to value authentically

Many of the terms mentioned, which revolve around “appreciation”, reveal what is important on closer inspection of their wording. So real “appreciation” requires that I not only recognize something as valuable APPEARING in the other, I also have to “appreciate” it in the truest sense of the word myself or - described with another term - “pay attention”, ie make it shine . Therefore, "lip service" or even the most well-intentioned attempts to increase someone else's self-esteem don't work. The required “authenticity” (sincerity) of the message is then usually missing. The Latin word for viewing (“spectare”) is part of the term “respect”. This suggests that it depends on looking closely or, from the point of view of the other, on the feeling of having been noticed. In fact, a lack of appreciation is very often based on the fact that we have not perceived another person for a long enough time or with sufficient intensity (with all our senses, not just our eyes!) It is then above all preconceived prejudices or prejudices adopted by others that shape our image of the other and influence our dealings with them. The term illustrates how fundamentally important it is for us humans to be "recognized" at all. The term encompasses a broad spectrum of needs: It starts with the wish that others may notice that we exist at all (= recognition of our existence), up to the wish that we are specifically perceived and accepted in our peculiarities (= Recognition of our individuality or person). Recognition in the context used here has nothing to do with “recognition for achievements”. The latter is possibly the most common form of recognition practiced in everyday life in our culture. Since it honors only those aspects of behavior that benefit society, it can encourage the development of a "false self".

The terms “appreciation” and “respect” suggest that we help others to achieve (human) dignity and self-respect through an appreciative behavior. Those who feel sufficiently appreciated can walk through life “proudly” and approach others with confidence. He does not need to hide or be "ashamed", nor fight for recognition of his person and his actions. Such an attitude makes it much easier to show appreciation to others as well. Understandably, this is much more difficult for a person who feels devalued. Authentic recognition and appreciation are among the powerful tools that can heal those emotional wounds in particular, where people have long struggled to finally recognize their injuries and efforts and thereby restore them to the state of dignity. For this, as a rule, “empathy” for the world and, in particular, the experiences of the other is required. Without sufficient empathy, we run the risk of merely imposing our own ideas and experiences on the other (projection, transference). Appreciation competence always requires empathy.

Many strange or “dysfunctional” behaviors of some people are an (originally successful!) “Reflection strategy” that served to cope with a lack of individual awareness. It is of fundamental importance that these survival strategies, however disruptive they may now be, are first of all recognized in their original value. They deserve and need confirmation that they have made sense so far. Often they can only say goodbye with such "appreciation" and thereby open up new behavioral options for the person concerned. If there is no appreciation, the person concerned repeats the painful experience that he or she is simply not recognized in their efforts to establish contact. As a result, people often cling even more closely to what has been the only functioning “survival strategy” so far.

Value creation through recognition

There are no “objective” values ​​in this world. The term "appreciation" seems to me so fascinating and colloquially suitable because the word component "guess" suggests that it is a highly subjective process (especially in the sense of "appraisal"). The term shows us that it is human beings who create “values” through “appraisal”. So it is all alone who determine our own value and that of others. That is why it is so important that we do not thoughtlessly ignore this eminently important behavior that we continuously practice (judging ourselves and others), but instead use it consciously and in a way that promotes life and development. Appreciative behavior is probably the most ingenious and easiest way to find real and powerful "Added value" to operate. Each of us can almost at any time by ASSESSMENT increase our own and the “value” of others as well as the value of what we have experienced in this world almost LIMITLESSLY. According to the empirical principle “What you pay attention to, it grows”, our appreciation (as, unfortunately, also the devaluation) continues to have an effect even after we have turned our attention to other things.

Pay attention to the moment ("mindfulness")

A lack of appreciation or even a disregard of the moment (of the life just lived) is one of the particularly great "unhappy makers" because it leads us to devote our attention to problems that have arisen in the past and concerns about the future. The fact that we miss many (small, but also large) moments of happiness in everyday life is part of the tragedy of a “careless” attitude towards life that does not sufficiently value the moment and the opportunities it offers. Sometimes it helps if you keep encouraging yourself to perceive, describe and communicate your own experience in the here and now. It is of fundamental importance to refrain from any form of evaluation and interpretation.

Appreciation is facilitated by the idea that everything is inseparable from everything (which modern atomic physics confirms). It helps myself to imagine that without trees I would have no oxygen and would therefore be incapable of living. In the broadest sense, I can therefore imagine trees as part of myself (at least as part of my “life system”). What applies to oxygen can be transferred to numerous other phenomena (from food to my fellow human beings, whose contributions to the whole I owe my personal life design options). Anyone who does not appreciate all of this is devaluing their own life system and the inseparable person embedded in it.

Apparently all people are subject to a permanent tendency towards evaluation, which is consistently automated. The point is to decide in a flash whether a new stimulus (person, situation, problem) is more of a danger or a benefit for our person. This assessment is based on our previous experience, which varies considerably from person to person. The respective experiences often come from a very early period of life, in which language and symbolism were not yet available, so that we cannot make them accessible to ourselves with the help of the mind, as it primarily works with language and symbols. The result of the (consistently unconscious) evaluation is usually communicated to us in the form of a feeling and an associated proposal for action, provided that we can register such a feeling at all (which not everyone succeeds equally well). Without particularly thinking, we generally follow the suggested action and thus also accept the evaluation contained therein. We often only become aware of the processes described if we do not follow an impulse to act and try to feel what is now going on inside us.

Against this background, it is hopefully understandable that appreciation accompanies everyone from their earliest childhood to death and is largely accompanied by unconscious processes that are difficult to control. It has a lot to do with our basic attitudes towards life and is therefore also anchored in our character. Nevertheless, it is possible to develop an appreciative approach to life through sufficient practice and the positive experiences that this brings about.

Paths to more appreciation: recognizing devaluation tendencies, gratitude, respect for otherness

“Appreciation competence” does not come from just reading this text, it wants to be lived and experienced. Only in this way can it become a habit and thus part of our unconsciously working “autopilot”. Small aids like the one described in another leaflet "Devaluation pig“Make it easier to gradually get to the bottom of one's own valuation tendencies. A lack of appreciation can be hidden in small everyday phrases, such as a "yes, but" that is often encountered. In many “yes but” the apparently recognized person experiences himself “recognized” or understood for only a fraction of a second, since everything is immediately called into question again by the immediately following “but”.

A special form of appreciation is the "gratitude“, Which can refer to other people as well as to life as a whole. It has proven to be a good idea not to go to bed until you have spent a few minutes to look back at the moments for which you can be grateful in the passing day (see your own leaflet). Simple and easily practicable forms of appreciation (attention) consist of addressing other people (repeatedly) by their name, asking open questions, showing genuine interest and not speaking for longer than a minute yourself (so that the other person also has space). Among the psychotherapy directions, the "transaction analysis" founded by Eric Berne under the formula "I am ok, you are ok" has dealt with appreciation competence and its consequences.

Appreciation has nothing to do with “submission”. On the contrary, the higher the value of the person who appreciates them, the more valuable the value of their communications. It is thanks to this fact that appreciative behavior also has a positive effect on the appreciator himself. As a rule, it gives him the feeling of being valuable and something special himself. Appreciation can be shown in the most varied of forms, starting with an express compliment (see separate leaflet) through many gestures to behaviors such as "hospitality". Unfortunately, in parts of our society, the esteem of the STRANGER is losing importance. By this I mean not only the appreciation of “foreigners”, but generally the appreciation of properties and phenomena that are alien to us (not yet familiar to us). It shows itself most clearly in a loss of diversity or increasing leveling-off. Examples of this are, for example, the disappearance of many small companies (“corner shops”), the associated merger of companies into ever larger units and efforts to prevent deviations from norms in children through prenatal examinations. Against this background, the appreciation of diversity and difference seems particularly important to me. Strangely enough, we often describe people who deviate from the norm as “strange”, whereby this formally appreciative term then takes on a derogatory aftertaste.

Love as the most powerful form of appreciation

The transition from appreciation to love is fluid. Interpersonal love is probably the most powerful form of appreciation. With her, the other is most obviously accepted unreservedly in his particularity. For many people, however, this is often only possible in the context of being “in love” by blocking out certain peculiarities and “projecting” their ideal ideas onto their counterpart.

Last but not least, appreciation promotes inner and outer peace in this world, as it increases the SATISFACTION of all those involved. Because the more people and things you value, the less there are left to "fight" or "war".

And one last tip: If you think you are suffering from insufficient attention, you should always check whether you are not masking it yourself (e.g. by looking away or avoiding eye contact - which may originally have been a useful way of protecting yourself). A helpful exercise is to actively greet others in order not only to respect others, but also to awaken their respect. Some people behave like the goose depicted in a cartoon who - while performing a headstand - simultaneously hides its head in a boot and complains, "I'm sure no pig will see it again" (while in the background a little piglet looks on in admiration and applauds ).