We all want to be appreciated and feel important especially to those that are the closest to us; spouse, family, friends, boss and our children but sometimes we feel like we are taken for granted. You may work your butt off at work day-after-day for several years and never receive a performance raise. You may make dinner every night for your family without as much as a thank-you or an occasional night off. You mow and trim the lawn religiously each week, so your neighborhood homeowners association stays off your back but get a complaint letter if the trees aren’t pruned.
You might do 7 loads of laundry a week-cleaning, drying, folding and distributing to your family without any recognition for how long it takes or any acknowledgment at all. You clean the clutter off the kitchen counter every night only to have 6 papers piled on it when you get home. You might feel as if you work in a shoe store because you spend so much time picking shoes off the floor. Sometimes it seems like you’re doing more and more work without as much as a simple thank you.
We all need a little stress in life to keep us moving forward, but there comes a time where the pressure begins to have adverse effects on a person. Anxiety, depression, and irritability are signs of too much stress.
Appreciation can be interesting; we are all guilty of taking someone or something for granted. When was the last time you told the supermarket manager thanks for having a clean store? What about thanking the local utility company for keeping your showers hot and your food cold? Perhaps we think we don’t or shouldn’t have to show our appreciation because we pay for these services, and in fact, they should thank us for paying them. But are there things in our lives that we take for granted that we actually should appreciate? Yes!
Tasks that are performed routinely (like making dinner or doing the laundry) will eventually fall into the taken for granted category, and it isn’t because your family doesn’t appreciate what you do for them. The reason that everyday tasks like cooking and laundry are usually taken for granted is that these responsibilities are expected and required of us. However, things that you do that are out of the ordinary and spontaneous are often received with great gratitude. When relationships become routine, the gratitude usually decreases. If you want your relationships to thrive, it is important to take the time and make an effort to show others you appreciate them. This goes back to the idea that relationships take work, lots of it. Treat people how you want to be treated, and they eventually will catch on.
If you feel people are taking advantage of you, then you need to learn how to set healthy boundaries and know when to say ‘no’. Never sacrifice your self-respect to appease another. If you feel unappreciated and undervalued in a relationship, take the time to discuss your feelings with them and listen to their feelings. You can craft a plan to make each other feel appreciated and rewarded.