Appreciate or depreciate? 1

appreciate chalkThe word depreciate is generally used in relation to a house or a car – and it’s not something we particularly like to hear. It is all about a reduction in dollar value.

Depreciate can also mean “to belittle or to lessen the value of, by derision, criticism etc; to disparage” (

In contrast, the word appreciate means to raise in value. To ‘appreciate someone’ means “to admire, to hold in high regard… to be grateful or thankful for” (

While cars don’t often hold their value, our houses will appreciate, especially if we work to maintain them and ‘add value’ by improving the garden or the kitchen, or perhaps by adding a room.

I think I have always been on a mission to ‘improve’. I strive to improve myself, I’m constantly looking at ways to improve my home and surroundings, and I’ve always made it my goal to improve as a family.

This may seem like an honourable ambition, but recently I came to see that in my bid to ‘add value’ to my life, too often I was lacking a true ‘appreciation’ of what I already had, and more importantly who I had – particularly in relation to my husband.

To be honest, it hit me like a brick. I cried. I realised that my need for perfection was hurting not helping.

A typical conversation between us would go something like, “I really do appreciate everything you do for me and the kids…and around the house…honestly I do…BUT…if only you could improve here, or not do this, or do this better…”

I thought he knew I loved him and appreciated him, and deep down I suppose he did;  but what he was hearing above all else was…”you are still not quite doing enough, you just aren’t quite up to standard”. Perhaps even, “you’ll never be good enough.”

Ironically, the very thing I was trying so hard to achieve was backfiring and he was losing motivation. If one can never measure up then perhaps it is easier just to give up. I thought that by pointing out his ‘flaws’, we could ‘fix’ the ‘problems’ and be a ‘better’ family. In retrospect, I was only causing discouragement and undermining the good we already had.

I am glad to say that each day I am learning to show greater appreciation to the wonderful man in my life. When I catch myself whinging, I stop and remind myself of all the good things about him. I think about all the amazing ways he cares for me and for our children, all the things he does for us and for the time he spends with us.

As I am learning to focus primarily on encouragement and support, I believe our family life has improved a hundred fold.

By loosening up a little and not getting stuck on the particulars; and by being open to, and accepting of, the different ways we do things, I believe we enjoy a more loving partnership. As we work together within our strengths, we are ‘adding value’ to our family by default. Our family is ‘appreciating’.

How much time do you spend thinking about the improvements you’d like to make to the man in your life?

How often do you just stop and tell him how much you appreciate him?

In our efforts to add value to our family life, are we creating a culture of depreciation or are we increasing our family’s appreciation?

Esther Murray

About Esther Murray

As a bit of an idealist, Esther often dreams of a world where kindness is the currency and where no one ever suffers from hunger or mistreatment. In the hopes of making some part of this dream a reality, Esther studied a Bachelor of Social Work. She quickly discovered that she probably wasn’t going to save the world but could simply strive to make a difference in her everyday. Much later, as the sea of nappies, toys, teething and tantrums threatened to engulf the dreams of a former life, Esther began to write. Making meaning of a childhood in the Himalayas, the craziness of motherhood and the state of the world was a much-welcomed creative outlet. Esther loves doing life alongside her husband Clive raising their three young daughters. In her down-time Esther can be found drinking tea (never coffee), tinkering on the piano or bass-guitar, practicing her Urdu, rummaging the op-shops, or attempting some kind of DIY.

One thought on “Appreciate or depreciate?

  • Rod Vardy

    In our organization there is an emphasis on “life-long
    learning” but that needs to be more than an academic thing – and
    maybe it is even more important for it to occur in the personal,
    relational and spiritual realm. Great article from your heart
    Esther. May you together, as a family, continue to learn and grow
    and of course, “appreciate”!

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