4 Actions to Take When You Feel Unappreciated
Images by the amazing, Mikayla Christiansen.
How many times have you worked really hard, put all of your strength into a project, situation, effort or another person only to feel unappreciated?
The feeling of being unnoticed for your efforts or for your time can be discouraging. A giving person puts her time, emotions, energy, spirit, mind, and body into those she loves or into that for which she is passionate. Unfortunately, all of her energy, time, emotions, and so forth are often not reciprocated. So how does one find the energy to continue giving when faced with the feelings of being unappreciated?
A Journaling Prompt:
When was a time, I felt unappreciated?
Why did I feel this way?
How did I respond?
4 Actions to Take When You Feel Unappreciated:
1. Give to Yourself First
“To thine own self be true.” We’ve all heard this common Shakespearean quote before, but it speaks volumes. So often, we serve others at the expense of our own spiritual, emotional, and physical health. But the truth is my friend, you CANNOT serve others from an empty cup, but wait, there’s a catch.
Imagine that you are a cup and saucer. Let me ask you, “What fills you up?” How do you practice Self-Care? What are those things that give you strength, make you smile, feel excited, joyful and relaxed? Some examples of self-care may be a tea or coffee break, a pedicure, massage, or facial. It may be a quiet reading moment, a walk in the park, meditation, or a bubble bath. Whatever your self-care practice entails, do something for yourself on a daily basis.
Ok! Now your cup is full, so you can begin giving to others again, right? Nope my friend, you are not yet ready to give. You still need to work on giving to yourself first. Why? (This is a lesson, I recently learned, and man did it change my life!) YOU NEED TO SERVE FROM YOUR OVERFLOW MY DEAR! You never serve from your cup, but from your saucer. Only once this is achieved, will you have the energy, the patience, and the strength, to continue to give to those you love.
A Journaling Prompt:
What do I need right now?
How can I practice self-care?
2. Show Gratitude Toward Others
Being on the receiving end of un-appreciation at times, gives you the unique perspective of what it really means to live in gratitude and thanksgiving to those who selflessly give or have given to you.
Who do you admire as a giving soul? Who has shown you kindness and unconditional love? What are some things that you appreciate in your life? Giving thanks and appreciating life in every aspect will keep us centered and happy in that we are able to do and give to others without restraint.
A Journaling Prompt:
Who am I thankful for in my life and why?
How do I show appreciation for those I love?
3. Realize the True Purpose of Giving
I often refer to giving as the epitome of love. It is a selfless act that requires nothing in return, not even appreciation. To be able to say to your loved ones, "To know that you feel loved, is all the reward I need," and to truly mean it, takes away the need to feel appreciated or to hear encouraging words of praise.
To be able to be content, knowing that you have done all within your means to make someone happy, this is the sacred reward that cannot be given by another.
Learn to be at rest when you don't receive the praise. Become confident in your work and in the ability to do your best. Let yourself enjoy the personal gratification of a job well done.
A Journaling Prompt:
Why do I give to others?
What is my motive behind giving?
What do I expect to receive from giving?
How does it make me feel to give?
4. Expect Nothing, and When you Receive Nothing...you Won't be Disappointed!
These are the famous words of my Mother. She shared this with me many years ago, and she lives by these words. My Mother is a selfless and giving woman who gives until it hurts. I have watched her be un-appreciated by those with whom she has shared her love, her time, her energy, and her heart. I have seen the pain caused by the words of the ungrateful.
When she made the conscious decision to give and be a blessing to others without expectation, it gave her freedom. No longer bound by the need of being appreciated, she was free to walk in her beauty and love released from the opinions of others.
This was not an easy task, and it takes much pain and hurt before this kind of wisdom can be attained. Yet, by becoming intentional with our feelings and aware of our emotions, this will allow us to respond to others and to negative situations with more and more freedom from expectation as we grow.
So, the next time you put your sweat and tears into something or someone, don't forget to be thankful for the person who put their sweat and tears in for you. Enjoy the act of giving, and the personal gratification it brings, and expect nothing in return. No praise, no accolades, no thanks. Give to yourself first, and be content and satisfied with knowing that you have done a bit of good in your corner of the world.
...and should you receive gratitude for your efforts, stay humble, smile, and say, "My pleasure."
*Disclaimer: I provide these tips with the understanding that some folks take advantage of givers. Please use your intuition and your heart to discern the actions of those around you. You know who is genuine, and you know who is taking advantage of your goodness. Live accordingly.
Nicole Annette is a self-proclaimed Journal Junky who understands the power of Intentional Journaling. Journaling has had a huge impact in her life, and has promoted insight, healing, personal and professional growth. Her passion is to inspire others to transform their lives through the Intentional Journaling Practice.
Nicole has a M.Ed in Adult Learning and Development. She is the creator of The SHIFT Method of Intentional Change, and facilitates groups, college courses, workshops, and trainings on the subjects of literacy, personal development, self-awareness, life skills, and Intentional Journaling for the past 15 years.
Nicole is also the Owner and Maker behind the Journal Junky® brand: a line of earth-friendly stationery and guided journals. She enjoys meeting new people, hearing their stories, and connecting others.