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Let me know if this describes something you've ever experienced.
You work as hard as you can--be it at home or at work--and you go above and beyond to make other people happy.
In fact, you go so above and beyond, that you expect to at least be noticed for your hard work.
A simple head nod and a smile would suffice.
But it never comes.
What's going on here?
What's happening is that you're not being appreciated for your efforts.
As a result, you're caught in the trap of feeling unappreciated.
It happens to far too many of us. It's not like most people walk around expecting praise all the time.
So why does it hurt so much to not be noticed and acknowledged by others?
If you've ever thought or said, "I feel unappreciated" and want this pain to go away, then join me for a few minutes to learn what to do.
Feeling Unappreciated? We Are Social Creatures Who Need Appreciation in Our Relationships
We're humans. We evolved by relying on one another to stay alive.
And as the centuries passed, humans came to rely more and more on the special bonds they formed with their fellow men and women.
Doing good work as an individual was often done to support the good of the group, the good of the whole.
But things have changed. The result is a lack of appreciation.
In this modern world, most youth are now raised among the glint and gleam of social media, the cult of celebrity, and outrageous influencers who rule their own little spheres of influence.
We look at these special people doing special things and we think, "They make it look so easy. Why can't I be like them?"
The reality is that all people need lots of help to get where they are today.
It's rare to find a single person who achieved great status or fame without at least a handful of powerful people taking a special interest in them.
But we don't discuss that reality.
We don't talk about all of the helpers of the world--because that's not glamorous. That doesn't make for a blockbuster movie.
Heroic feats of individual achievement do.
Sadly, we're missing out on a lot when we think and act this way.
There's another way to be.
It's time to change the conversation so that you no longer feel unappreciated.
How to Feel Appreciated - Get the Appreciation You Deserve (Reviewing 3 Common Scenarios)
To feel appreciated, you really only have to remember one thing, and it's a tough pill to swallow.
Your Own Mental Health is an Important Form of Appreciation
You, and only you, can decide if you're feeling appreciated or not.
You can't force anyone to do something that they don't want to do--or aren't capable of doing. And before you hang your head and decide that the world isn't fair, I want you to consider something.
This mindset change is actually amazingly powerful and will drastically improve your mental health.
When you decide that you need others' nice comments to derive your self-worth, you limit the power you have. You essentially give it away to others, most of whom don't deserve it and never will.
You should be very selective with whom you place your trust and power. Because your power originates with you, in your own heart and mind. Giving it away to others by asking them to tell you how great you are is a battle you won't win. And it's not because you're not deserving of others' praise; it's because you're approaching the battle from the deepest of trenches.
Which leads me to an important question:
How to Deal With Feeling Unappreciated in a Relationship: Who are the Other People You Feel Don't Appreciate You?
Scenario 1: Your Relationship With Your Family
It can be difficult when your family doesn't respect you.
You might feel like you don't matter to them, don't believe in what you do, and that it's not worth the effort. But it's important for your mental health and happiness that you find a way to get the respect that you deserve from your family.
Here are some ways to get an acknowledgment of appreciation and the respect that you deserve from your family:
- Give yourself permission to have boundaries with them
- Spend time doing something for yourself
- Practice self-care
- Remember what is important to you about who they are
- Avoid trying to fix their problems
This same logic can apply to intimate relationships as well.
Scenario 2: Your Relationship With Your Partner / Significant Other
Relationships are a two-way street.
The way we treat each other reflects the respect we feel for our romantic partners, whether it's your husband, wife, or life partner who is not appreciating you.
We want to be respected, loved, and appreciated as much as they do.
There is no better feeling than knowing that someone besides ourselves cares about us and wants the best for us.
This is what makes a healthy relationship work.
But when one person starts feeling unappreciated in a relationship, they may start focusing on the negative aspects of their partner or significant other.
Lack of appreciation in a relationship can lead to feelings of resentment and can be the start of an abusive relationship.
In order to keep a healthy balance in your relationship, it's important to show appreciation for each other in meaningful ways every day.
The key to staying happy and fulfilled is by being empathetic towards your partner and understanding how they are feeling so you can provide them with what they need from you.
This seems counterintuitive. I get it.
But if you don’t know how your partner is feeling, you’re not going to uncover why they are treating you the way they are.
Ask direct questions. Be vulnerable. Go first. Doing this will help you uncover your partner's unappreciated feelings.
To get to the truth and the appreciation you deserve, you have to demonstrate that you’re willing to put the truth out there as well.
In time, this will lead to honest conversation after conversation of what both of you need to feel appreciated.
Feelings, including unappreciated feelings, don't always come to the surface right away. It takes time, and your lives are wrapped up in the time--past, present, and future--that you have together.
Scenario 3: Your Job /Career: Feeling Unappreciated at Work
There's one last area to touch on before we wrap things up.
While some people try to say that your work team is another family, that's not quite true.
Work is closer to playing on a sports team.
No workplace should be able to peer into all areas of your life like a family can.
You work to do a job, not to commit to supporting siblings, parents, or a spouse through thick and thin.
Still, many people derive incredible satisfaction and a sense of worth from their work relationships.
So, when people don't appreciate you at work, it can really sting.
If you're feeling unappreciated at work, you need to remember something very important.
You are not your job.
You are not your career.
No one is only one thing.
Yes, working hard and achieving success can produce great feelings, but there is a true you that is underneath what you do at work.
I say all this to get you thinking about your complete identity.
Often, when people feel unappreciated at work, they realize that they are putting too much of themselves into something and not getting enough in return.
So ask yourself something.
Ask: "Why do I need to be appreciated at work?"
It might seem like a silly question, but the more you ask it, the more you'll start to wonder what you get from your job or career.
You might find that you're depending on it to meet your emotional needs.
Or you might realize that you focus so much on work to avoid facing uncomfortable feelings or to fill a void in your life.
Whatever it is, you have to find the reason why you need to be appreciated at work in the first place.
You might determine that you don't need validation from your boss or colleagues after all--that you can do a good job at work and be happy with your own individual commitments, knowing that you did the best you could.
After all, you determine your worth, not anyone else.
On the other hand, if after asking yourself questions to understand why you need what you need from work, you decide that you fundamentally need to be appreciated in the workplace to live a fulfilling life AND you're not getting what you need, then it might be time to look for another job.
You determine the importance of work appreciation in your life, and you determine what actions to take based on how imbalanced your current work appreciation is compared to what you honestly need to survive and thrive.
In Conclusion - Moving Your Emotions From Negative Feelings to Positive Feelings: The Secret to Gratitude and Appreciation
Your vantage point is always better when you start from within your heart.
If you're feeling unappreciated, decide what it is that you feel you're lacking that you need from others. Hasn't any good change that has ever happened to you originated from within yourself?
It has to be so. It's your life, after all.
The burden of life can feel so heavy at times.
Our daily lives become our reality.
Meditate on the words from the last few paragraphs. Read them again if you need to. It's often the case that the people who don't feel appreciated also don't feel they have the right to be appreciated.
Fill in the gaps of your own creation, and you start to see a new way forward, a way free and clear of other people's comments, be they filled with praise or judgment.
You have so much to give to the world that no other person can.
Your experiences are unique.
Your life is your own.