There are three general places we're likely to feel unappreciated: work, home, and within a relationship. If you're feeling unappreciated, there's a good chance it's within one of these three areas of your life.
Children are notoriously unappreciative. Spouses and bosses are often blind to the contributions we make. Even friends and coworkers can fail to show the appreciation we believe we deserve.
Everyone suffers from feeling unappreciated at times. Consider these ideas if you're struggling to pinpoint your emotion.
Signs that you’re feeling unappreciated:
- You feel resentment towards someone in your life. If you’re feeling resentful toward someone, you might be feeling unappreciated. This is especially true if they haven't recently done anything obvious to upset you.
- If you’ve been feeling resentful lately, ask yourself why.
- You feel like you’re doing all the work to maintain a relationship. Sometimes it feels like you're doing all the work in a relationship, and the other person isn’t putting in nearly as much effort. This is a common reason for feeling unappreciated.
- Relationships are never exactly equal, but the inequality should shift back and forth. Healthy relationships are equal over time, but not all the time.
- You’re not being thanked for your efforts or contribution. We don't have to receive a medal for every little thing we do, but it's nice to be recognized for our efforts. This can happen at work or at home.
- You aren’t asked for your opinion. When we aren't asked for our opinion, we don't feel valued. When others respect your opinion, they respect you.
- The other person isn’t making time for you. If someone never seems to have time for you, you're likely to feel unappreciated. This is especially true if they seem to be able to make time for other people and activities.
Does the list above resonate with you? If you’ve identified yourself as feeling unappreciated, it’s time to do something about it.
Follow these strategies and get the appreciation you deserve:
- Determine what is happening that makes you feel unappreciated. Pin down the times you feel unappreciated. What exactly is happening? Who is involved? What is being said or not being said?
- Determine what would have to happen for you to feel appreciated. What needs to change? What has to be done or said for you to feel better?
- Try being more appreciative. This might sound odd, but a good strategy for receiving more appreciation is to give more appreciation. This can be hard to do when you feel that you’re not already receiving the appreciation you deserve. Try it and see if this strategy works for you.
- Be open about your needs. It's always better to communicate your needs than to just remain upset. Tell the other person how you're feeling and why. Be sure to offer a solution and be willing to listen to the response.
- Consider changing your behavior. If your actions aren’t appreciated, perhaps what you’re doing doesn't matter to the other person. Your time might be better spent in other ways. There’s always the possibility that you could consider rearranging your life so you can feel more appreciated.
In some situations, you’re just going to have to accept that you’re not going to receive the appreciation you deserve. This often occurs in work situations. Focus on feeling proud of your contributions and be thankful for your paycheck!
However, you can often receive the appreciation you desire if you speak up for yourself. Most people are kind and will correct their behavior once they’re made aware. Avoid suffering in silence and get the appreciation you deserve!