Appreciation – A Pathway to Love

I have spent most of my life giving myself a hard time. If something went wrong or if someone got upset, I would be the first person to put my hand up thinking it was my fault – even if it wasn’t. I have been very quick at putting myself in the doghouse, so to speak. This has been a pattern that I always remember having; it has been my normal.

Because of this belief I often attracted situations and relationships where I was also given a hard time, which simply to me confirmed my belief that indeed something was wrong with me. Giving myself a hard time was part of my foundation – so much so that until recently I didn’t even realise the extent to which I internally battered and beat myself.

Since coming to the work of Universal Medicine and being a Student of The Way of The Livingness, I have already made quite an inroad into developing a way of living that is self-honouring and self-loving. This has brought much clarity and joy on a day-to-day basis, however I can now see that this default program of giving myself a hard time has been capping my expansion and evolution.

Having had a Universal Medicine practitioner lovingly point out that this was a pattern of mine, I decided to explore the possibility of choosing another way. First of all, I recognised that I had been saying ‘yes’ to this pattern and I began to explore why I was choosing it. I became aware of the cycle that played out in my self-abuse.

Whenever anyone would question me on something that I had done or said, I would be quick to doubt myself, then I would disconnect from my body to go into more doubt, become very confused, give up on myself and then internally bash myself over the head for not getting it right: the whole time, not assessing or feeling if what had been said was indeed true for me or not.

By acknowledging that this was a recurring pattern, I started to make inroads by seeing just how debilitating this pattern was and how much it was holding me back.

The Game Changer – Self-Appreciation

This was when I began a self-appreciation program where on a daily basis via text message I began to share with a friend at least two things that I appreciate about myself on that day. Because I already had a strong foundation of love in my body from the self-loving choices I had been making over the last four or five years, this opened up a fountain of appreciation for myself that I never knew was there, dwelling inside of me waiting to burst out.

I began to see very clearly just how awesome I am and just how much there is to appreciate about myself. I began to see daily that the amazingness of who I truly am far outweighs all the little things that I had been giving myself a hard time over.

As I have begun to deeply appreciate all that ‘I am’, the ‘what I am not’ has started to fade into the background. It is something that I need to lovingly work on, but I no longer identify with it as who I am.

No more doghouse for me! I found that my innate way of being really is to express from this appreciation.

Along with the appreciation of myself also has come hand in hand a deeper appreciation of others. As I focus on seeing the beauty in me, I cannot help but see the beauty in those around me. My foundation is shifting quickly and I now see how giving myself a hard time no longer serves me. It was a pattern that I chose as a way of keeping myself small, of not showing the world the glory of who I really am.

This article was inspired by Serge Benhayon and fellow Universal Medicine students and practitioners who have reflected that appreciation is a pathway to a deeper level of love.

By Donna Gianniotis, Age 41, BA Communication, Dip Health (Yoga)

Further Reading:
No Doubt
Women in Livingess
Compliments And Me

1,370 thoughts on “Appreciation – A Pathway to Love

  1. Appreciation is so needed on our way back to Soul as it is a continuous confirmation of how great and beautiful we are and with that we give it permission to grow it even bigger.

    1. So true Nico, as we grow the appreciation feels like it expands with us and connects those Soul-full moments, so I suppose we could say appreciation is the glue between our Soul expressing as it holds one moment to the next!

      1. Yes Greg, you could see appreciation as a glue, but sometimes I also see it as food, nourishing food for the Soul.

  2. Thank you Donna for the clarity with which you express your appreciation for yourself and the recognition that whilst there will always be stuff to work on it that it is not who you are. Like you I have been so good at focusing on what I perceived to be my weaknesses that they overshadowed all there is to appreciate in how my life has turned around since attending Universal Medicine presentations and taking responsibility for how I am with myself and others.

  3. Great title ‘Appreciation – A Pathway to Love’ with ourselves and others. Time to bin all the books on finding love and connect to the joy of appreciation.

  4. Self-bashing is incredibly harmful to both us and others and yet so many of us do it and even feel virtuous about it as if it is being honest or helpful in some way. This is such an illusion as the only thing that is healing is love and that is true love which does not have one ounce of emotion.

  5. It is one of the greatest losses our world has been delivered that self doubt and self bashing far out weigh self appreciation and the responsibility that true appreciation engenders.

  6. Appreciation of self is the precursor and foundation for truly appreciating others and what we all bring.

  7. I have spent most of my life giving myself a hard time also Donna; but no more. Your blog is a great inspiration to always remember that appreciation is the pathway to love.

  8. We can so easily get stuck in old, well worn patterns which do not serve us and which in fact hold us back … I love that you’ve been willing to address yours here Donna, and how the simple act of embracing appreciation showed you so much and how in fact you found this to be a natural expression. It has me asking how I can deepen my own appreciation and what I might find when I do.

  9. It is crazy how much time we spent focussing on our ‘short comings’ all the while there is so much grandness and beauty in an about us.

  10. Expressing and sharing our appreciation with others is so powerful. Even just giving ourselves a moment to stop, and stock-take in itself is something to really appreciate about.

  11. A big thumbs up for appreciation programs. I do a daily text with a close friend, and as a family, we also share appreciations around the dinner table. It changes the focus away from the negative (which has also been my habit) and has opened my eyes to how much there is to appreciate about myself, others and life in general.

  12. It is a great realisation when we identify patterns that hold us back from our true expression. Learning to deeply appreciate myself was hard at first as it was something I had rarely considered or offered to myself just with other people. Through making choices that were far more loving and gentle I began to accept and value myself and this now keeps expanding the more I continue to deeply cherish and appreciate my true qualities.

  13. Great invitation to take my self-appreciation deeper. When we have a deep foundation of appreciation, it is also easier to look at one’s short comings, critique or whatever we have to unlearn or let go of that is not loving. I still put myself in the doghouse as well (love that expression!) but also combine it with blame. I feel bad but is someone else’s fault. They criticize me, than I take it in and criticize myself, feel bad and blame the other for feeling that way. The way to off set this trick? Appreciation!

  14. It’s amazing to see and hear of how our view sets up how we are. As this article offers if you are self critical you seemed to attract more of same and then this is your view and you identify this as ‘just being how you are’. It’s not until something expands your awareness for you to question and almost wake up to see. Appreciation isn’t just a word, it’s a way of life that for us can be a way to continually expand your awareness. No more loathing or battering yourself just a bigger picture focus with appreciation being the norm.

  15. I love the way appreciation works magic in our bodies. It brings an ease and settlement which brings more space for more appreciation so before long this foundation is so strong it paves the way of our next step. In effect when we appreciate ourselves we are guaranteeing the quality of our future.

    1. Indeed Lucy, expressions of appreciation feel like stepping stones to more, greater and grand, to a place we deserve to be.

  16. I love the way appreciation works magic in our bodies. It brings and ease and settlement which brings more space for more appreciation so before long this foundation is so strong it paves the way of our next step. In effect when we appreciate ourselves we are guaranteeing the quality of our future.

  17. Thank you Donna, for what you have shared it is so very timely for me to realise these words, ‘It was a pattern that I chose as a way of keeping myself small, of not showing the world the glory of who I really am’. A great reminder of the power of appreciation in my life by confirming and expanding the love that I am.

  18. There is a sneaky streak/s in me to not be all of me in and with the world. Gentle, loving, appreciation of myself is the way to get acquainted with these sneakies, to become aware and understand them for what they are so they aren’t the default protection to any external situation that feels a little or lot uncomfortable.

  19. It seems to me we have the understanding of how to live in the world back-to-front. Rather than internalise with the critic, self punishing strategy to cope with a situation that hurts or we don’t know how to handle, in truth we can simple connect to the innate love that is already present and externalise this by letting it ripple out. This is a loving way to appreciate who we innately are.

  20. Bringing daily appreciation into our lives is a game changer, it helps let go of the old patterns of beating ourselves up, ‘I began to see daily that the amazingness of who I truly am far outweighs all the little things that I had been giving myself a hard time over.’

  21. It is incredible how we humans get so caught up in the little things of our imperfections and those of others, constantly self-bashing and judging relentlessly…it is only when we value what we bring, we can self-appreciate and then this easily extends to appreciating all others.

  22. Interesting to consider how e have come into the situation that we doubt or even bash ourselves for what we have done, will be doing or not have done, to name a few arguments we tend to use. As when we return to appreciation we naturally felt held in all that we do and with that we are able to appreciate others too. So could it be that we have lost that connection in us in which we naturally appreciate all of life as it is a precious gift from heaven, as to me life is?

  23. Thanks Donna, I really needed to read this today! After an incredible weekend of amazing things and people and appreciation, I feel unsettled today and it’s the smallest things that I’ve started to give myself a hard time over, instead of staying with the awesome settlement of appreciation. When I start to focus on the small stuff, I really easily lose myself in it, instead of just focusing on keeping on appreciating all of the amazing bits that are always there – but we just stubbornly choose to not focus on, sometimes.

  24. We say yes to those things we know diminish us and that is great to understand for then we know we have the tools in us to consider what in fact we’ve said yes to; and then as we build an appreciation of who we are and compound that we allow the space for all the other bits to fall away, knowing they are not us.

  25. Forget the dog-house and start appreciating seems like a true message we can all learn from so thank you Donna. Texting a friend seems like a great idea and is now something I will do as soon as I find a friend!

  26. The more we work on appreciating ourselves, and accepting how truly great we are, the more the feelings of not being adequate will disappear. What I do is walk it, feeling the beauty of who I am and then magnify it by walking.

  27. The beautiful thing about what you are sharing here is, that there is another way to live our life than we had taught or given in to, that there is another way where we can truly heal and thus can truly let go of things, which brings true change.

  28. It is interesting why we put emphasis on the 20% of our lives that we live in disconnection with our Natural way of being instead to the 80% we already are.

  29. I can very much relate Donna – for most of my life, self-bashing and self-critique have been the staples. It has needed and continues to need a huge commitment from myself to turn this around, and build self-appreciation as the foundation that holds me instead. It is amazing what happens when we do commit to this – how hugely held we know we are by the endless well of our own ever expansive and universal love.

  30. Appreciation inspires more appreciation and it is important to never hold back our appreciation for ourselves and all that we bring and indeed, for all others.

  31. What a beautiful example of the fact that making the commitment to bring appreciation into our lives has a most natural ripple effect, with the ripples not only flowing through our body but through the bodies of all those around us. As love and appreciation are inextricably intertwined, it is a given that where there is self-love there is self-appreciation, with this divine union having the power to change lives, starting with our own.

  32. It is great when we catch ourselves going into patterns that do not serve and keep us small so that we can make a different choice. Choosing to love and appreciate ourselves brings a settlement to our body so that we understand and deeply value our true worth.

  33. I noticed an old pattern creep in tonight – one where someone was putting me in the doghouse, and I was allowing it by not speaking up, and withdrawing, which was then feeding the other person’s behaviour – my silence was confirming their talking as ‘right’. I felt reduced and less than, and could also feel myself going into victim mode – I can’t say anything because of xyz.. all a big story which means that I don’t have to rock the boat, risk upsetting the other person, and can stay comfortable as the victim. The amazing thing is that the more I build a steady foundation within myself – make more choices to feel amazing and know that it’s okay just to be me, the more anything that is not of that same amazing quality really starts to stand out – including all of my own behaviours and patterns – and it makes me want to start to choose differently.

  34. It’s been amazing to consistently reflect on the thoughts I have, to see how these thoughts whether positive or negative, loving or unloving then impact on how I see the world and people. It is our relationship with ourselves that then dictates how we see others and the world and so self critique yourself and then this is your default for others and this example can be applied to everything. You can only do to someone first what you have done to yourself and so equally if you are holding an ongoing love and deep care for yourself then this is what touches the world. There is no end to how far you can expand this all and when this thought comes that there is then it’s time to expand things further. Life isn’t just what physically happens outside of us, there is far more occurring around us then we bring awareness to.

  35. Appreciating myself for my natural qualities has been an absolute life-changer for me. Joy is now becoming a more regular companion in my everyday life which is the most incredible thing ever!

    1. Yes, appreciating for who I am and the qualities I bring instead of for what I do is a whole shift of consciousness and looking at the world.

  36. Beautiful this is truly the core of it : ‘My foundation is shifting quickly and I now see how giving myself a hard time no longer serves me. It was a pattern that I chose as a way of keeping myself small, of not showing the world the glory of who I really am.’ It is about accepting my responsibility that is living from the wholeness of me and bring that out to the world – without holding back the power of who I am.

  37. So many people have this pattern of self bashing that you describe, very sad and debilitating, how great that you have let go of this pattern and are now appreciating and loving yourself.

  38. Thank you Donna — you show us that we actually have no issues at hand – it is more the familiarity with struggle (identification).. Hence when we let go of this.. all we find is the glory and nature of who we are. As you have shared with us: ‘This has brought much clarity and joy on a day-to-day basis, however I can now see that this default program of giving myself a hard time has been capping my expansion and evolution.’

  39. What a beautiful way to support and develop your connection to yourself. I’m going to find a text buddy and do the same thing.

  40. This is such a simple program but by the sound of it, it really works. I am going to give it go, as it seems like a great and inexpensive way to build a more solid relationship with myself.

  41. Imagine what life would be like if we’d been taught about the role of appreciation in blitzing low self-esteem and self-worth issues at school? If we’d got into an early habit of appreciating our innate qualities rather than seeking recognition for our achievements? Appreciation is a much diluted word in its meaning from the truth of what it offers in practice. It’s well worth investing a few minutes every day in self-appreciation as it starts to strengthen our sense of who we are and the qualities of the unique essence we each bring.

  42. To appreciate the little things in life is perhaps more important than the big things.The big ones are easy to acknowledge while the little ones can get taken for granted and they build a solid foundation of self-worth that supports us in challenging times.

  43. This is so true, “Giving myself a hard time was part of my foundation – so much so that until recently I didn’t even realise the extent to which I internally battered and beat myself.” In the same way we can change the “foundation” by changing the way we are with ourselves, sounds to easy right? It is that simple and the only thing that doesn’t make it simple is the same thing that has been giving us “a hard time” for all these years. Developing an ongoing self appreciation just for being is the only way to move out of this internal battle, we only need to make the change.

  44. At school I remember competing with negative self bashing talk, we would constantly put ourselves down in order not to get attention or jealousy from another. This pattern has stuck with me and amplified as I got older and I found more reasons to tell myself I was not good enough or that there was something wrong with me. With appreciation, I have started to turn the volume down and I now have to tune in more carefully to notice whether I am being harsh with myself or not.

  45. We are super skilled at finding what we have done wrong, blowing it out of proportion and bashing ourselves for it, rather than accepting that it was a moment to learn from, take responsibility for and move on.

  46. Appreciation continues to be the tool to bring us out of self-bashing and self-doubt and into a way of confirming rather than negating ourselves, as it offers us the opportunity to reflect on the small-to-large qualities we have clocked about ourselves during the day and from there to begin a process of building a solid foundation of our true value to the world.

  47. “appreciation is a pathway to a deeper level of love.” These are such beautifully powerful words when expressed this way, what is there not to appreciate when it can deepen our own love and our love for others. Everything is there to appreciate for the opportunity of learning and evolving that it presents.

  48. I just realised that self-doubt is self bashing. Same same. It’s also not about making mistakes for no-one is perfect and we will make them, but even with that, there is no need to doubt who we are. With self-doubt we are not able to feel or see who we are. Door shut…Enter appreciation, this quality and way of being allows us to open like a blossom and see the magnificence that we truly are.

  49. It is absurd how we run these self-critical programs that, if we allow them, totally override the connection to the beauty we are. The beauty and the love that is there for everybody. Thanks for this reminder Donna.

  50. Appreciation… This is such an enormous subject… Appreciation of others is such a beautiful thing to practice… Appreciation of ourselves is the foundation for our connection with our own true heart.

  51. It makes sense to me that having a pattern of being hard on yourself attracts situations and relationships that reflect this back to show us what is being chosen at the time. In being aware of and recognising this pattern I am now taking steps to reimprint a far more tender and caring way of being with myself and with how I move my body which is changing the reflections I now experience and to appreciate the deeper level of love I now allow myself to feel.

  52. I have also found that the more I develop a relationship to myself through self love and appreciation of who I am, the more I relate to others the same way. Our relationship to ourselves is an amazing investment in our relationship to all others.

  53. When we are in doubt, we have already moved away from our connection to the love we are in essence, as such we lose sense of the truth that through our connection to our essence, we are amazing through and through with every move. It is appreciating this connection that supports us to stand solidly, knowing this truth and continuing to walk in our true expression without question, regardless of how the world reacts.

  54. Normalizing the utterly abnormal is the norm; yet is a norm that is truly abnormal. Seeing things this way is normal and helps to bring back a sense of normality that is true and that resonate deeply with our bodies.

  55. “As I have begun to deeply appreciate all that ‘I am’, the ‘what I am not’ has started to fade into the background”. I love the way appreciation changes our perspective. It is not a mind over matter exercise either. It is simply noticing and feeling the loveliness that is actually there, instead if focus on issues or mental dilemmas.

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