I’ve come across a few people feeling unappreciated recently, so I thought I’d give some tips on how to deal with it. As poor old Danny Smith on Radio Verulam is considered one of St Albans’ hidden treasures, I thought I’d go through them on his Drive time show.
Fancy listening to our dulcet tones? You can listen again here.
Do you feel unappreciated? Is it at work, at home with the kids or with your friends/partner?
The good news about feeling unappreciated is that it can be dealt with pretty easily ……
Tip 1: Have you told anyone?
When I worked in IT for 13 years, there was a well known phenomenon, which was that the men were much better at 1to1′s than the women. Basically the men were much better at listing everything they had done, and blowing their own trumpets. Whereas the women were more prone to being humble and discussing their development areas. (Yes, I totally get that this is a generalisation!).
It happens at home too – many wives complain about their husband’s needing a medal for emptying the bin once a week ;o)
Meanwhile, women tend to leave the daily chores off their to do list, and not appreciate how much they are naturally getting done each day. Hence their husband’s come home and ask ‘what did you do all day’ and it feels to them like they did nothing.
The key and easy way to turn this situation around is to tell people.
A good friend of mine makes a long list of everything that needs doing in the day and leaves it in a prominent position in the house. By the end of the day, it has loads of ticks on it and her husband is awe inspired by how much she has achieved. She makes sure that it includes things like ‘feeding the children’.
I’ve found that my children had NO IDEA how much I was trying to fit in to each day. So rather than shout at them, when I was feeling really unappreciated, I waited until I had calmed down, and then I went through the list of things that I had to do. I found them much more appreciative of what I did from then on.
Sometimes, people don’t appreciate what we do, because we’ve never explained what would happen if we didn’t. I’ve heard of Mums who go on strike and stop clearing up or tidying up; that’s certainly one option. I just explained to my kids that I know that they like to play and often we don’t have long, so I like to be able to find the toys quickly in order to make the most of our time together; hence everything needs to go back to where it came from.
I know lots of writers who feel gutted that their books don’t sell or their blog doesn’t get enough readers. But often I find it’s because they aren’t willing to ‘pimp out’ their writing; i.e. no one knows about it!
Tip 2: How do you know that you aren’t appreciated?
There is someone lovely that I know, who often feels unappreciated. The thing is that despite being wonderful, she doesn’t have all the confidence and self-esteem that she deserves; so she needs quite a lot of head patting, and sometimes life gets in the way of telling her how great she is.
It’s quite possible that whilst the thoughts in your head are telling you that ‘No one appreciates me’, that they actually do appreciate you.
Maybe they just haven’t had a chance or the time to let you know or show you yet?
Maybe you haven’t noticed or heard them when they told you how great you were; sometimes we only focus on the criticism, not the appreciation.
Maybe they don’t show you the way that you like the best, so you need to tell them to do it a different way.
The other day I was feeling glum about my blog. But then I got an email to say I’ve been selected as one of the top 15 Fibromyalgia advice blogs world wide for 2014 and found I was in the Top 100 blogs on Amazon (yep, people pay to read my blog, when it’s free on the internet – it’s weird, but I’m not complaining!). I basically wasn’t looking in the right place to see where I was appreciated.
So remember to:
- Assume you are appreciated.
- Look around and see if you are and where you are appreciated.
- You could always ask them!
Tip 3: Did they want your help?
Sometimes, we just don’t listen to other people and jump to conclusions about what they would like.
It can happen so easily ..
- The kids don’t appreciate the amazing meal we cook them, because frankly they’d prefer baked beans on toast
- The friend who we spend ages sending advice to or chatting to about their problems doesn’t show any appreciation, because she was quite enjoying the drama and never helped for resolution, she just wanted to moan.
- The partner who didn’t appreciate the expensive present we bought them, because they actually prefer a simple bouquet
- The work mate who didn’t appreciate all your hard work tidying up their area, because what they actually wanted, was for you to tidy up your own.
Be really careful when you spend your energy helping people, and first check that you are about to do the right thing.
Tip 4: Did it make you feel martyred or grumpy?
Very sadly, you could do something really important and really helpful, but because of your demeanour afterwards you will get no brownie points whatsoever.
I encountered this when I was in IT at one point. I had the best customer service results, the best budget and always achieved my targets. But my boss found me a pain in the neck because I needed to be patted on the head; he was the kind of guy who didn’t need any external praise at all, so he thought me high maintenance. It might have been unfair, but it was the way he was.
Do you know someone who is grumpy all the way through doing their job/chores? I bet it totally stops you from feeling grateful to them? Like that stroppy child who tidy’s their room, but kicks and throws things all the way through the whole process.
What about that elderly relative who helps loads of people, but then spends the rest of their time complaining about how much they helped everyone? They are real energy suckers aren’t they?
We are basically really demanding; we want things done PLUS we want them done nicely!
Don’t do something if you are too tired, or you don’t want to! Let someone else step in and help out instead; share around the giving!
So if you want to feel appreciated make sure that:
- Don’t waste time helping people who don’t want help.
- Do things that people definitely need.
- Assume that people are grateful for your help.
- Tell them what you did; but maybe wait a little while and give them the chance to appreciate it first.
- Don’t do it if you don’t want to.
- Be nice about it and don’t undo your good work by being ungracious.
I’d love to know if you try these tips and how they help you?
Or hear your stories of people who you find it really difficult to be grateful to?