You hate your supervisor. There—you finally said it. You’ve been pussyfooting around it (and her) for long enough now. That’s it, you’ve had it! Let the truth be told—you hate your boss.

Your reflection in the mirror scowls back at you. You sigh, stop waving your toothbrush around, and stick it back in your mouth where it belongs. Fat lot of good that did! You still have to go to work today. You still have to face your supervisor. You still have to go along with whatever she says.

The worst of it is that you love your job! You have no desire to quit. You work for a great company, you enjoy your work, the pay is good, you get along fine with your coworkers—the only downside is your supervisor. But oh, what a downside! Her automatic answer to anything you want is no; her automatic expectation of anything she wants is yes. So, you don’t get help when you need it, you don’t get a recommendation for that new position, and you don’t get vacation when you want it. You do, however, have to respond with, “How high?” when she says, “Jump!”

The question is, how do you keep your job without losing your sanity?

Love thine enemy.

No, not “love thine enemy” as in plaster a phony smile on your face and pretend that your supervisor is a great person to work with—she’s not! No, this is “love thine enemy” as in appreciate your supervisor, value something about your supervisor. Deliberately look for one thing, however small, that you find worthwhile about her. Maybe it’s that she’s always straight with you. Maybe it’s that she works as long and as hard as she expects you to. Maybe it’s that she challenges you to the very limits of your abilities.

You see, that’s the true meaning of appreciation. It’s not just another word for gratitude, a polite “thank you” after someone’s done something nice for you, but appreciation as valuing. That’s actually the basis of how the word appreciate is used in the marketplace: we say that art appreciates in worth, land appreciates, gold appreciates—they all increase in value, and appreciation is first and foremost about valuing. The thoughts you think, when you are appreciating someone or something, are thoughts about their worth, their value to you, what they mean to you, and why they matter.

Back to your supervisor. You know that one thing you found that you can really, truly value about her? Focus on that. For a couple weeks, as best you can, every time you see your supervisor, think about what it is you value about her. If she’s been ornery with you, try to let go of your upset feelings as quickly as you can and—you guessed it—focus once again on thoughts of valuing her.

What you think and feel about someone impacts how they think and feel about you. It’s actually scientific. Quantum physics teaches us that in the realm of energy, like attracts like. You’ve felt this yourself many times. When someone’s angry and yelling at you, you’ll want to snap back in return. When someone is kind and generous toward you, you’ll want to be giving toward them. Think of appreciation as a wonderful facilitator of energy. When you genuinely appreciate someone, they become more willing to cooperate with you.

How will this work with your supervisor? Well, the first thing that will happen, as you persistently, consistently value your supervisor, is that your opinion of your supervisor will shift. You’ll realize that she rides you hard because she really cares about the success of the company. You’ll realize that she doesn’t like shifting around vacation schedules because she takes great pride in the smooth running of her department. You’ll understand that she doesn’t give you that recommendation to a new position because she wants to keep your good work in her department. As you persistently, consistently value your supervisor in this way, she will feel that shift and begin to value you and thus treat your requests differently.

What about in your home life? Would this same concept apply? You betcha!

For example, when you first fall in love, you may be delighted by your sweetheart’s mellow, easy-going approach to life, which nicely balances out your wired, get-it-done-now approach. Six months down the line, however, when something isn’t happening the way you want it to, you redefine his “don’t worry, be happy,” laid-back attitude as laziness.

Your sweetheart hasn’t changed, but how you view him has. In the same way, your “just do it, and do it now” approach was something your mate admired in you—until it meant that you expected him to do something he wasn’t in the mood to do (mellow soul that he is), whereupon your decisiveness became “controlling,” and you become “bitchy.” You haven’t changed either, but your sweetheart’s perception of you has.

How you view your true love is affected by how you feel in the moment. When you feel wronged, upset, or hurt by your mate, you are likely to forget what endears him to you and focus only on what displeases you. For example, you may ignore how loving your mate is with the kids and focus only on what a slob he is. Both are true. Your sweetheart may ignore how well you handle the family finances and focus only on how you can’t stand the sports he loves. Both are true.

When you focus on what you don’t like, don’t value, or don’t cherish about your sweetheart, you feel resentment. With resentment comes a diminishment of love. On the other hand, when you focus on what you do like, do value, and do cherish, you feel love. The love, or lack of it all, stems from what you choose to make significant. That’s where appreciation steps in. If you deliberately, proactively choose to focus on what you value about your mate as much and as often as you possibly can, you’ll find that the love in your life just grows and grows. Appreciation is a cornerstone of love, one of its most important elements.

Science increasingly shows how interrelated we all are and how we affect each other continuously in both conscious and unconscious ways. Make that interrelatedness work for you. Value everyone in your life, and enjoy the benefits of their valuing you in return.

Ah, the power of appreciation!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, best-selling author, and a powerful, passionate speaker. She has empowered countless individuals to be happier, healthier, and more successful at work, at home, and in relationships—drawn from her belief that through the power of appreciation we can accomplish great things. Through her books, articles, seminars, and consulting practice, Dr. Noelle gives the skills and the inspiration to lead rewarding, satisfying lives. Her books include The Power of Appreciation: The Key to a Vibrant Life (Beyond Words) and The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing). She can be reached at or at