The magical effect of appreciation in relationships!

How would it be if you sowed fertile seeds in your relationship that would magically allow your relationship to blossom after a short period of time?

Then let’s start with a dangerous question: When was the last time you truly appreciated your partner?

After a mostly magical and nurturing start of a relationship, many couples continually forget that relationship is an ongoing, conscious act of non-linear creation. Instead, they blunder into a common trap that lurks on the relationship path: habit! Habit can be a major factor when a relationship is not fulfilling but rather boring and conflict-ridden. It’s usually a habit based on the unexamined assumption that you already know your partner, know who they are and how they react. However, the thing is this: As soon as you wake up in the morning and think you know your partner, the relationship is dead. Then you are no longer present and attentive. This is exactly the point when intimacy stagnates and the relationship can become an ordinary relationship with discussions, conflicts and low drama (the perpetrator-rescuer-victim game).

There are many different aspects that contribute to ordinary relationships. However, a crucial aspect is the lack of appreciation, namely a lack of appreciation of the partner and the relationship. In modern society, the focus is mostly on having and doing, i.e. what a person has (following the motto “my house, my car, my yacht”) and what they do (what position they hold at work, for example). This focus often has the effect in relationships that you have to do or have something to please your partner or to keep the relationship alive. For example, flowers are bought, gifts are given, something is repaired in the apartment, a new television is bought, cooking is cooked for the other person, etc. But neither the relationship nor the partner is nourished through doing and having. Nourishment in a relationship arises, among other things. when returning to what has been lost in modern society: the appreciation of the qualities of being.

When a person is valued in their being, they feel seen and can stop defining themselves by what they do or have. 

How does sincere appreciation work?
Appreciation of being focuses on what your partner actually is like in their essence. So it’s not about saying “You’re wearing a nice shirt”, “You have beautiful eyes”, or “I like your new haircut”. It’s about appreciating your partner for their essence.

To do this, adopt an open posture (no crossed arms or legs), look Your partner directly in the eyes and let your 100% attention rest on them. Then you begin to read your partner’s qualities of being in their eyes. So you look through the mask of doing and having and appreciate them for what they actually ARE.

For example, if your partner cooked a nice meal, appreciate them for their being rather than their doing by saying, “Thank you for your loving care. You’re so attentive.” That’s completely different than saying “Wow, you cooked great.” Can you feel the difference? Here’s another example: If you were planning a quiet evening with your partner. Upon returning home you told them that friends were spontaneously coming over and he said: “Okay!”, then you could appreciate your partner by saying: “Thank you for your flexibility . You are so open and relaxed.” These are just example sentences. It is important that you actually see the other person’s characteristics at that moment.

What actually defines your partner? Why are you in a relationship with them? Look carefully into their eyes. Part of you may find this scary and say, “I don’t see anything there. I can’t do this.” Hang in there. Look closely and trust the impulses you get as you try to read the characteristics of being in your partner’s eyes.

Appreciation doesn’t have to take long, but it works like magic if you use it every day. An appreciative sentence lasts 10 seconds. Of course, you can also take more time and appreciate your partner for 3 minutes. Then you could discover completely different facets of being and perhaps even use a little poetic images as a description: “I appreciate the mindfulness with which you fill our relationship. You are a mindful, powerful warrior who is willing to move forward and set boundaries when they are necessary. I appreciate your courage and commitment…” or “You are like fireworks full of bright colors. I appreciate your creativity and enthusiasm with which you dedicate yourself to your project.”

Every sincere appreciation is like a declaration of love and is very healing, effective and connecting, both for the one who receives appreciation and for the one who gives appreciation. In addition, appreciating the qualities of being in a relationship also strengthens the relationship itself. Appreciation is also nourishing and healing for the relationship. When you value your partner, they feel seen and automatically validated for what they bring into the relationship with their qualities. Many women put an incredible effort in relationships and will do anything to get attention. There seems to be a huge lack of attention in modern society. Appreciating the qualities of being focuses on what a person essentially IS and they receive 100% of your attention in that moment. This creates connection. If you make appreciation a daily practice again, these seeds will bear fruit in your relationship very soon.

Traps on the way to appreciation!
If you intend to practice appreciation again to magically let your relationship blossom, it’s helpful to know some pitfalls:

1. The praise trap:
As already briefly mentioned, appreciation is often confused with praise. Some people are still familiar with praise, but there is a big difference between praise and appreciation. Sentences of praise like “You did a great job” are again limited to what your partner is doing. Praise is not about the actual qualities of being. In addition, praise often serves as unconscious, subtle manipulation. For example, if you tell your partner, “You did great,” what is your actual message? The real message may be, “I want you to keep doing this in the future.” Be vigilant. Dedicate yourself to appreciation.

 2. The continuity trap:
Maybe you decide to consciously appreciate your partner again from now on, but after a short time you forget about it. Create a reminder that you see several times every day. An “A” for appreciation on a piece of paper, a dot you draw on your hand, or whatever. To break the habit of non-appreciation, it is necessary to be disciplined about giving appreciation every day. By the way, you can not only practice appreciation in a love relationship, but equally in relationships with friends, colleagues or even in the encounter with the saleswoman in the bakery (who, for example, packs the bread very carefully. Just thank her for her care.).

The continuity trap can also creep in if your partner initially seems unable to accept the appreciation. There are people for whom it is extremely unusual to be seen in their being, so they try to block the appreciation at first. Still, stick with it. Continue to value the qualities of being. At some point they will be able to let appreciation in.

3.  The hunter-gatherer trap:
You may have heard that women are more likely to be gatherers and men are more hunters out of a primal instinct. The women’s gatherer gene used to mean that in a large meadow full of delicious herbs and mushrooms, the woman could see exactly the one mushroom that would have poisoned the tribe at the time. Women still carry this gene. Applied to modern times, this means that women today find exactly the one aspect that they think the man did NOT do right in the relationship. For you as a woman, it’s about moving away from that and appreciating your partner for the wonderful qualities of being that define them and that also show up in your relationship, instead of holding one unfortunate point against him.

Regarding men, the behavior is slightly different due to the hunter gene. In the past, it was crucial as a hunter to concentrate on one piece of game in the forest and not allow any distractions such as herbs and mushrooms. Applied to modern times, this means that men like to concentrate on just one thing and forget everything else around them in that moment. The challenge for men is to include appreciation as an “important project” in their everyday lives so that they don’t forget appreciation among all the other important individual projects.

Ultimately, however, it takes your commitment to reintegrate the appreciation of the qualities of being into your everyday life. As mentioned earlier, a fulfilling relationship is an ongoing, conscious act of non-linear creation. It may be difficult at first, but if you stick with it and continue to genuinely appreciate your partner, you will find your relationship magically blossoming.

Appreciative greetings,
yours, Nicola Neumann-Mangoldt