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6 ways to get more appreciation
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In this edition of LIFEadvice Coach Kim explains how you can shift your attitude to get more appreciation for all you do. - photo by Kim Giles
Question:

My biggest complaint about my family and my job is a lack of appreciation. My spouse and children completely take for granted everything I do for them. They just assume I will always do everything for them, and my needs dont seem to matter. I feel the same way at work too. I do more than anyone else, yet people act like Im not important. Is it me? What can I do to feel more appreciated for all I do and give? All I want is my sacrifices to be noticed and appreciated.

Answer:

The real question here is "Do they really not appreciate you, or do you just not feel appreciated?"

If you have insecurities and low self-esteem, no matter what they do or say, it wont be enough to fill your empty bucket. You will never feel appreciated. The truth is, other people cannot convince you that you have value. When I hear you say All I want is my sacrifices to be noticed and appreciated, I think what you are really saying is that you need your value validated. You need someone to fill your bucket, and that means it is probably empty. This tells me you are coming from a place of low self-esteem.

The problem is, the only person who can fill your bucket and keep it full is you. If you continue to make other people responsible for your self-esteem and filling your bucket, which basically has a hole in it because of your negative beliefs about yourself, they will resent it and this will feel a lot like unappreciation.

If I am wrong and you already have good self-esteem and the people in your life still dont appreciate you, then one of two things is happening. Either you are surrounded (on all sides) by people who are selfish and focused their needs, which is highly unlikely. Or you are still giving and serving with a (possibly subconscious) sense of neediness, entitlement or obligation behind it, and this is making people ungrateful.

For example, if you feel entitled to gratitude and expect something back from your gifts, this makes your gifts about getting what you need, not giving to them and no one appreciates these kinds of gifts.

Since Im not sure what is happening in your situation, Im going to tell you how to solve all these problems. If you will work on these six things, I promise the people in your life will respond with more gratitude.

  1. Work on your self-esteem by redefining what gives you and all human beings value. You must decide where your value as a human being comes from. Is it based in your appearance, performance and what others think of you? Or is it based in your nature as a child of God and your uniqueness as a one-of-a-kind divine soul? I encourage you to stop trying to earn your value through your appearance, performance and the approval of others. Instead, see your value as infinite and absolute, unchangeable, and not in question at all, because life is a classroom, where you are here to learn, it is not a test to determine your value. If you choose to see life as a classroom not a test, this mindset shift will take most of the pressure off. The more you accept your value as infinite and stay the same no matter what you do, the less validation you will need from other people. You will feel a peaceful sense of true value all the time and your bucket will stay full. This will make you less needy and more attractive to others.
  2. Take better care of yourself. Make sure you have a healthy balance between giving to others and taking care of yourself. Remember, you are in charge of making sure your needs are met. If you give too much and never take care of yourself, your family and co-workers will begin to take that for granted. They will expect that behavior and it will be your fault. You will have taught them that your needs arent important. If you are asking for what you want and need, and taking care of you, you won't feel overburdened or taken for granted, and you will be teaching them to honor your needs. You will also have a full bucket and more to give.
  3. Give to others from a place of love. There are two emotions you can give from: love or fear. Giving from fear means you have low self-esteem and are afraid you arent good enough, and that means you are in desperate need of validation and appreciation from others. When you give gifts from this needy place, your gifts have strings attached. You need something back (in the form of validation) from the person you are serving. When you give from this place, it doesnt feel like a gift. It feels like an obligation and people don't appreciate that. When you give gifts from love, needing nothing in return, it feels like a real gift and people tend to appreciate those. If you are doing steps 1 and 2, you should have a full bucket, and you should be able to give gifts from love. When people feel real love behind your actions, they will appreciate you.
  4. Make sure you are giving because you want to not from a sense of obligation. If you give or serve because you are supposed to, need to, have to or should, the truth is, you dont really want to. That again, is not much of a gift. It is a forced gift and no one really appreciates a gift you didnt want to give in the first place. In your mind, they should really appreciate these gifts even more, because you sacrificed to give them, but they wont. They dont want a gift that is laced with guilt. They only want a gift or service that comes from your heart because you wanted to give it.
  5. Stop trying to get appreciated. I hope you are hearing this idea behind all the other steps. If you want to be appreciated you must stop trying to get appreciated. Your neediness is making everything you do about you. When you stop trying to get appreciation and start giving to the people in your life from a true sense of love, you will be naturally appreciated.
  6. Be grateful and give more appreciation. There is a law in this universe called You get what you give." This means if you want more appreciation, you must give more appreciation. Shower the people in your life with gratitude for every little thing they do. Make sure appreciating others is a core part of who you are. But again remember, this has to be real gratitude. You cant fake this. You may need to spend some time putting on paper all the things you are truly grateful for. Try to imagine your life without them and find a true sense of appreciation.
Tony Robbins said, Change your expectation to appreciation and the world changes instantly.

I promise, the fastest way to change other people is to change yourself. When you change YOU, and choose to live from love instead of fear and lack, they cannot respond to you the way the same way. Give more love to yourself and others, focus less on your fear, and this situation will change.

You can do this.
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