We all feel unappreciated from time to time. You pour your heart and soul into something, yet you still feel undervalued and unappreciated at work, at home, or in your relationships. It can be pretty discouraging and may even leave you feeling worthless and stuck.
It can be a tough pill to swallow, but don’t worry — you’re not alone.
According to experts, these are the best things you can do when you’re feeling unappreciated, along with tips to help deal with these feelings.
Heather Wilson, LCSW, LCADC, CCTP
Executive Director, Epiphany Wellness
Feeling unappreciated can be disheartening, especially when you’ve exerted a lot of effort into something. Whether at work, at home, or in relationships, this feeling can creep up and leave one feeling resentful and bitter.
These feelings can lead to burnout, so it’s important to know how to deal with them.
If you’re feeling unappreciated, you can do a few things to ease the situation:
Learn to set boundaries
If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, it’s time you set some personal boundaries. Learn to say “no” more often, especially when you already have a lot on your plate. This will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated.
Build a support network
When you’re feeling down, it’s crucial to have a strong support system to lean on. Talk to your friends and family members about how you’re feeling and let them know how they can help you.
Do something for yourself
Make sure to take some time out for yourself every now and then. This can be anything from reading your favorite book to getting a manicure. Doing things that make you happy will help boost your mood and make you feel appreciated.
Express your feelings
If you’re feeling unappreciated, don’t keep it to yourself. Instead, talk to the person or people you feel are taking you for granted.
Tell them how you’re feeling and what they can do to make you feel better. This will help you communicate how you want the other person to treat you and relieve you of the toll of keeping your feelings bottled up.
Get counseling or therapy
If you find it hard to cope with your feelings, consider seeking professional help.
A therapist can help you understand and manage your emotions in a healthy way. They can also give you the tools you need to communicate effectively with the people in your life.
Ellie Borden, BA, RP, PCC
Registered Psychotherapist | Certified Life Coach | Clinical Director, Mind By Design
Feeling unappreciated or underappreciated can be one of the most detrimental emotions we can experience. It can adversely affect our motivation and cause us to neglect our responsibilities, which can undo our progress in many domains of our lives, leaving us feeling helpless and discouraged.
This can be even more destructive for those already struggling with low self-esteem. In these circumstances, there may be a higher likelihood that someone will not express what they are feeling because they fear being judged, dismissed, or made fun of.
Further, this becomes a perfect recipe for falling into a victim mindset, and our internal dialogue can be consumed with statements like:
- “I’ll never move up in the world.”
- “I’m everyone’s doormat!”
- “I will never meet anyone’s expectations.”
- “What’s even the point?!”
A victim mindset can lead you down a destructive path into hopelessness, helplessness, anxious thoughts, and depressive symptoms. Don’t be a passenger in your own life. Instead, drive your way to success by taking your power back — in the driver’s seat!
Here are some things you can do when you feel unappreciated, or you feel as if others are beginning to take you for granted:
Look inward — rule out a pattern or insecurity
First, look inward. Dig deep for the true reasoning behind why you feel this way and ensure you are reflecting on whether you have a pattern of feeling that way in different circumstances and with different people.
If this is the case, you’ll want to do your own personal development work so that you don’t continue going through life feeling this way. It will only block you from happiness and the pursuit of higher achievements.
Furthermore, addressing one instance of a pattern may not entirely solve the problem. Once you have ruled out a pattern or insecurity, proceed with the following tips.
Communicate your needs clearly and in “I” statements, if necessary
When feeling unappreciated, communicate your needs clearly and in “I” statements, if necessary. We often feel embarrassed or guilty when we think about letting others know that we feel our efforts aren’t being properly acknowledged, or we may feel irritated that our hard work is perhaps deliberately going unrecognized by the people around us.
While it is possible that we could be dealing with someone who isn’t always grateful for what others do for them, this is most likely not the case.
As Hanlon’s razor states, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” In other words, you should first assume that the other party genuinely isn’t aware of the effects of their behavior before you conclude that they are entirely conscious of their conduct.
Assuming you are dealing with people of good faith, don’t be afraid to politely let them know that the occasional expression of gratitude would go a long way with you.
Moreover, if you don’t allow the other person to address your feelings, be mindful of their actions and words, and make the necessary changes, then you cannot blame them for how you are feeling. This will instead be on you!
As mentioned, people often need to realize they are making someone feel a certain way. It isn’t fair to blame them for something they aren’t even aware they are doing.
Let them know how much you appreciate it the next time they compliment you
In some instances, you can also try using some behavioral psychology on them! Just like B.F. Skinner, when he trained his rats to do all sorts of cool tricks, you can wait and watch for the next time your “rat” does something you would like to see more of, and then reward them.
In this case, the next time they compliment or thank you for your efforts, let them know how much you appreciate it. You can say something like, “I really appreciate your acknowledgment! It means a lot to me!” The more you do this, the more likely you will be acknowledged for your efforts.
Assuming goodwill on the part of others before jumping to other conclusions and encouraging more of what you would like to hear from them can be great ways to go from feeling unappreciated to feeling truly valued for your contributions.
Get more assertive if someone is treating you as if you are less than
Lastly, it is time to get more assertive if you are pretty sure that someone is:
- Disregarding your feelings
- Undervaluing you and your contributions
- Taking you for granted
- Treating you as if you are less than
You may see this in narcissistic personality types, those who engage in gaslighting behavior frequently, those who are self-centered, and those who display an attitude of entitlement.
When you don’t practice being assertive in these circumstances or with these personality types, it will lead to you feeling resentful, causing you to possibly start pointing the finger at others, blaming others, keeping a scorecard, etc.
Remember, being assertive means you are advocating for yourself in a way that ensures you are not disrespecting others in the process. Doing so when you first start having these feelings is critical in maintaining proper communication and also teaching others how to treat you.
If you let things go too far, resentment will build, anger will brew, and it is only a matter of time before you either get self-critical and turn inward with this anger or unleash it disrespectfully on someone else.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor | Founder, LifeSpring Counseling Services
Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients struggling with the following:
- Setting boundaries
- Feeling unappreciated
Here are three tips if someone is feeling unappreciated:
Ask yourself if you’ve been saying “yes” to things you don’t want to say “yes” to
If someone is feeling unappreciated or resentful, it is possible that they have been saying “yes” to things that they really don’t want to be saying “yes” to. Sometimes people get caught up in doing this because they don’t want to disappoint the other person involved.
Having said that, saying “yes” when you really don’t want to can result in unanticipated consequences like resentment. It also means that we sometimes end up creating the disappointment we were trying to avoid all along.
For example, imagine that your boss asks you to do a favor. You don’t really want to, but you also don’t want to disappoint your boss.
As you start working on this task, you notice that your mood starts to go downhill. You start dreading the task, grumbling and getting irritable with your boss.
The decision to say “yes” to a project that you really didn’t want to take on in the first place ends up resulting in more relational tension than would have existed if you had just said “no” to begin with. It’s our job to speak up and say “no” to things we don’t want to do.
In other instances, people may say “yes” to things they don’t want to because they have people-pleasing tendencies and because they believe their self-worth is based on their productivity or on what they can do with others.
If any of these things are the driving factor in our feeling unappreciated, then we have to check ourselves first and remember that our worth is not based on others’ approval.
Speak up if you truly feel like you are being taken for granted
The first step is to recognize that you are feeling unappreciated. Once you realize this, you have a responsibility to speak up about it if you wish for things to change. You can surely say nothing, but doing so will not get you the desired results.
In a healthy relationship, you can expect the other person to listen to you, make an effort to understand your perspective and take ownership of their actions that show a lack of appreciation.
If, on the other hand, the person gets defensive, is not open to listening, and makes excuses for lack of appreciation, that is good information for you to pay attention to. How much will you keep investing in a place or relationship where you and your work are unappreciated?
Set boundaries, communicate them, and stick with them
If you have been going above and beyond only to find that your efforts are not recognized or appreciated, it might be time to assess your responsibilities.
Do an inventory of your core responsibilities in a given relationship or role. What are your core responsibilities, and what are those extra things that you have been doing? Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that you need to scale back. You’ll need to set boundaries, communicate the changes you will be making, and then stick with them.
If you communicate a new boundary like, “I won’t be responding to work-related text messages after 5 PM,” then it’s important that you stick with that boundary.
Communicating a boundary and then not sticking with it sends a mixed message, and it’s not the kind of message you want to send. When setting boundaries, you want words and actions to match so your words have more power.
Christie Sears Thompson, MA, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Relationship Coach, Trade Winds Therapy and Relationship Coaching
Appreciation is a huge point of focus when I’m working with relationships in both therapy and coaching settings. Without consistent and genuine appreciation woven into the fabric of our relationships, resentment can build, and heightened conflict emerges.
Feeling truly appreciated by and giving appreciation to our loved ones is one way we can express and receive love. Love and appreciation are so intricately tied — it’s difficult to separate the two.
My guess is if you’re feeling unappreciated, you’re likely feeling unloved as well.
Ask yourself what you’d like, and respectfully ask that person to give it to you
If you’re feeling unappreciated, rather than grow resentment towards the person you desire appreciation from, ask yourself what you’d like to be appreciated for and respectfully ask that person to give it to you.
Sometimes if we don’t ask, we don’t receive. Perhaps that person may not even know you’d like to be appreciated for something specific, and giving them a direct heads-up can help you get that need met more effectively.
In addition to asking for what you want, try appreciating what you’d also like to receive. Mirroring behavior can pay off for your benefit.
Learn your and your loved one’s primary love language
One excellent way to receive (and show) appreciation is by learning your primary love language and sharing that information with your loved ones.
Learn about your loved one’s languages as well so you can speak clearly to them in their preferred languages.
Recognize that they may have expressed appreciation in a different way
Lastly, recognize that you actually may be receiving appreciation, but not in your preferred language.
For example, if you resonate most with acts of service but you receive more gifts, this attempt at appreciation might go unnoticed since it’s spoken in a different language.
Steve Carleton, LCSW, CACIII
Executive Clinical Director, Gallus Detox
Take a step back and assess the situation objectively
Look for any patterns or themes in the way you feel unappreciated.
Are there specific people or situations that trigger these feelings? For example, have you consistently put in extra effort for people who have not acknowledged or reciprocated it? If so, it may be time to set boundaries and focus on taking care of yourself.
While we should not expect or rely on others to validate our worth, if we’re not receiving the appreciation we deserve, it may be necessary to reevaluate our relationships and focus on those who truly value us.
After all, healthy relationships are based on mutual respect and appreciation. It is also helpful to examine your self-worth and where your need for external validation is coming from.
Set expectations with those who may need to show more appreciation
Sometimes a lack of appreciation may stem from misunderstandings or differing expectations.
When appropriate, it can be helpful to have a conversation with the individuals involved and communicate what your needs and boundaries are. This can help create a better understanding between both parties and establish a healthy foundation for future interactions.
However, if this still doesn’t lead to positive changes, it may be necessary to distance yourself from those who consistently fail to show appreciation for your efforts. Prioritize your mental well-being.
Find ways to boost your self-esteem and practice self-love
Separate from what others may think or say about you. External validation cannot fill the void of self-love and appreciation.
To help you remember your worth and value as an individual, focus on building a strong sense of self-worth and confidence in yourself and your abilities.
For example, make a list of your accomplishments and strengths- this will remind you of the value you bring. Accordingly, focus on activities or habits that make you feel good about yourself, such as exercise, creative pursuits, or self-care practices like meditation or journaling.
Seek support from loved ones
Remember that everyone has their unique journey and priorities in life. While we may feel unappreciated by certain individuals, that doesn’t mean we are not appreciated elsewhere or by others in our lives.
It can be helpful to reframe our thinking and focus on the people who show us gratitude and appreciation.
Talking through your feelings with someone you trust can also help provide perspective and coping strategies for dealing with feeling unappreciated. Allow yourself to feel and process the emotions, but try not to dwell on them.
Instead, focus on what you can control. For instance, you can distance yourself from toxic relationships or environments that contribute to feelings of inadequacy. And focus on building healthy relationships where mutual appreciation is present.
Related: Can Toxic Relationships Be Healed?
Seek professional help, such as therapy, if necessary
There is no shame in seeking professional help to better your mental well-being and overall quality of life.
A therapist can provide valuable tools and assistance in exploring and addressing underlying issues related to feeling unappreciated. They can help create a personalized plan for improving self-esteem and finding inner validation and happiness.
Kasia Ciszewski, LPC, M.Ed.
Licensed Professional Counselor and Brainspotting Practitioner, My Charleston Therapist
When you feel unappreciated, it often means that your good deeds go from being recognized to being expected by the person receiving them. You often feel like you’re the only one making compromises in the relationship, which at some point leaves you feeling used.
This typically reveals an imbalance in a relationship. I would suggest examining your ability to say “no“ to things.
Do you have a hard time letting someone down or prioritizing your needs over somebody else’s? Then you’re probably a people pleaser or have a hard time setting boundaries.
Remind yourself that you’re not being selfish for thinking about yourself
Being selfless is not always a good thing. It leads to feeling unappreciated. If someone always expects you to help them or always expects you to be available, they learn to undervalue your time and energy. They assume that you enjoy helping them out of them.
Although you may enjoy playing that role, it is not your responsibility to manage other people’s feelings or solve their problems.
Everyone needs to have a support system
You cannot be the sole person someone relies on. This relationship can very quickly become co-dependent, pulling you away from prioritizing your needs in order to be someone’s emotional stability.
Beware of doing such things as losing sleep, leaving work early, canceling plans with another friend, or skipping meals to satisfy this person’s needs.
Ultimately, this may leave you feeling resentful, disappointed, and sad. Make sure you have people in your corner who think about what’s best for you, as well.
It is our job to protect ourselves
We cannot assume that everyone knows what we’re giving up to help them. It is up to us to make decisions that don’t leave us feeling like this because we are the only ones in control of our narrative.
Providing a reason for your decision usually helps that person understand your answer and typically helps you feel like you’re the one in control of your life.
Keep your relationship balanced
Relationships won’t always feel balanced.
Sometimes a friend will be going through a hard time and will lean on you more than they have before. The frequency of how often someone relies on you is important as well. It should feel like you can trust your friend to be there when you need something.
With that said, in order to keep this relationship/friendship feeling balanced, each person has to be willing to ask for help just as much as they are willing to give it; otherwise, someone will likely start to feel like they are being unappreciated.
Akos Antwi, APRN, PMHNP
Co-Owner, Revive Therapeutic Services
Most people want to feel like they’re making a difference. They want to know that their work is appreciated and valued. So when you’re feeling unappreciated at work, it can be hard to find ways to move forward.
Here are some ways to cope with feelings of being unappreciated:
Take time for yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of work and forget about taking care of yourself. Take time out every day or every week to do something that makes you happy, whether it’s going out with friends or taking a relaxing bath.
Remember that you are valuable
Your employer hired you because they thought you could do the job well. Sometimes we forget this when things get tough at work—but don’t let them take away your confidence!
Be kinder than necessary — to yourself and others
Even when things are stressful at work, try not to add more negativity by getting upset with coworkers or taking things personally from clients or supervisors.
If someone is rude or disrespectful towards you, try not to take it personally; instead, try to see it as an opportunity for you to be kind, even if it’s hard.
Make time for yourself, whether it’s taking a break from work or going out with friends — you deserve it!
Make time for fun
Don’t forget about your hobbies and interests; as much as possible, try to keep them in mind when making plans with your coworkers.
Do some self-growth
When you feel like no one is noticing what you are doing and no one expresses appreciation, it can be easy to feel resentful or annoyed and wonder if you should just stop. However, it’s wise to pause for personal reflection and to see if communication is needed.
- Why is appreciation important?
When someone notices what you are doing and finds value in it, you feel seen, and it builds self-respect. If you are doing everyday tasks that are part of your normal responsibilities, appreciation encourages you to keep doing what is often necessary but routine and uninteresting.
- Do I need words of affirmation?
In Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages books, he talks about the importance of “words of affirmation” as one of the vital ways of showing and receiving love from someone.
If you identify that this is a love language that you need to receive to experience feeling loved, then it is vital your relationship or marriage partner, family, and friends know how important it is to you.
If the people in your life are unskilled in this language, you may have to provide examples to them of what is helpful for you.
Examples might include, “Thank you for creating that great meal — I really enjoyed it,” “The work you did on that project was outstanding,” or “I really like the friendly way you interact with me.”
- Do I have some self-growth to do?
As you reflect on your need for appreciation from others, it’s good to examine such questions as these:
- Do I respect and value my own worth and contributions and feel self-respect without needing to hear positive words from others?
- Do I have a pattern of resentment in my life and need to address underlying causes of anger?
- Would I benefit from making a list of my virtues, talents, and contributions?
- Could I increase my humility and be happy offering selfless service to others without expecting praise?
- Am I offering appreciation to others?
A culture of appreciation in a home or workplace grows when someone steps forward as an example. If you consistently express appreciation toward others, it is likely that they will begin to follow your good example.
- Can the culture change?
Often people are quick to complain to others or share negative words. As you increase your own positive words and encourage others to use positive words with you, the culture around you will shift.
As words of affirmation become the norm, it’s easier for everyone to carry out their work and responsibilities.
Emily Sharp, LCAT, ATR-BC, BC-TMH
Licensed Art Therapist, NY Art Therapy
Make time for creativity
Did you know that creative self-expression can help you feel more appreciated?
Creative practices are not just a fun way to connect with a hobby, simply a form of expression or enjoying the process of making. Dedicated time for creative self-expression can also be a radical act of self-care.
When you make time for creativity, you are making a statement that you are worth it and that your voice matters.
The feeling that you are unappreciated may, in fact, stem from a deeper feeling of unworthiness. In a moment of feeling this way, have you ever thought to yourself — “no one gets me” or “no one listens to my ideas”?
Imagine how it would feel about setting aside some time to make something that expresses your voice or how you feel.
Imagine how it would feel to make the statement that I deserve to protect my time for self-expression. In other words, you are making a statement that your voice, your time, and your choices are important.
Art idea for when you feel unappreciated
A quick example of a helpful, creative practice when feeling unappreciated is to begin by taking a large piece of paper, some collage materials, a glue stick, and maybe a few markers or paint.
Start by cutting and arranging images that reflect your current feeling. Glue these down. Next, ask yourself if you want to add any colors, textures, or words that would further give a voice to your experience.
Take a moment after to check in with yourself about how you’re feeling. Did anything in that feeling of unappreciation of unworthiness change or shift?
Even if no one sees what you make, you have used the paper to contain ideas outside yourself. Getting those feelings out can feel validating, and self-appreciation for your efforts can arise.
Certified Life Coach | Gastroenterologist
Recently I have been reconnecting with my absentee father, who has end-stage cancer. I often tell myself, “He is so unappreciative,” or I ask myself, “Why do I keep bothering?” when he does or says things I think he should or should not do.
As a life coach, I now have a protocol that can now open up my perspective from that endless tunnel vision and negative thinking that used to keep me stuck.
Allow your negative feelings to surface
I allow my negative feelings to come up to the surface, including sadness, frustration, and disappointment.
I lean into these feelings and just accept where I am at. I remind myself of my humanness just as I would easily extend to a close friend or loved one. I often pause and go into my body and notice all the sensations that are coming up for me internally, i.e., heaviness in my chest, rock in my abdomen, and heat in my face.
Remind yourself you’re in control of your own feelings
As I take deep breaths to calm my nervous system, I remind myself I am in control of my own feelings, not anyone else. I remind myself that I determine how I show up for myself and for him.
In a calm state, I remember my why for reconnecting with Dad and generating these more positive feelings on purpose, including, i.e. love, compassion, and kindness. I practice on purpose the thoughts that I need to believe to direct those feelings toward myself and him.
These thoughts include: “I show up for my Dad no matter what. I extend kindness and love to my father, and it’s okay. I love my Dad no matter what. In this last chapter, I will be here for my Dad.”
This is how I live my own purposeful life, strengthen relationships no matter how others show up, and let go of feeling unappreciated.
CEO, Capri Temporary Housing | Speaker | Success Coach
Appreciation is a form of love that individuals show each other in many different ways, including gift-giving, acts of service, words of affirmation, or even physical touch.
When individuals feel appreciated, it can create feelings of happiness and improve their overall well-being.
All individuals seek to feel appreciated, yet appreciation is not always provided. Individuals often struggle to feel appreciated by others in their occupational and personal lives due to a lack of communication or positive behaviors.
Feeling unappreciated can create feelings of anger, sadness, disappointment, and even burnout in one’s workplace. If you are feeling underappreciated, there are various ways to regain a sense of appreciation for yourself and your efforts.
Related: How to Recover From Burnout
Accept that you are in control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
The first way is to accept that you are the only one in control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You cannot control others, including them making you feel underappreciated.
You can control your communication, and this is a way to express to others how you wish to be treated.
For example, if you feel underappreciated in your romantic relationship, it is important to communicate this to your partner sooner rather than later. You may do so by informing them of your preferred way to be appreciated while also expressing how they are currently making you feel.
Know your worth
Another way to handle feeling underappreciated is to know your worth. Showing yourself appreciation can increase your well-being and create feelings of happiness without needing others.
This can be done by leaving yourself little notes with words of encouragement or starting a gratitude journal of things you are grateful for. Although others should show you appreciation, there is no harm in providing yourself with some as well.
If you are struggling to feel appreciated at work, dig deep into your interactions. For example, your boss may not give you enough praise, but others may come to you with questions because they trust your judgment.
All individuals struggle to feel appreciated. It is important you identify a plan if you are feeling this way. Working with a mental health therapist may be helpful if these feelings stick around.
Angie Spartz, CECP
Intuitive Transformation Coach and Speaker, Phoenix Rising
Choose to see the trigger as a tool for transformation
Feeling unappreciated sucks. It sucks when others aren’t noticing what you are doing, how much you care, or how much you are sacrificing. I mean, really, you are doing so much, would a “Thank you” and some acknowledgment be all that hard?
It can be so easy to get stuck in the “suck” — stuck in the spiral of negative thoughts and resentment, so how do you move out of it?
One way is to choose to see the trigger as a tool for transformation — a chance to know, understand and love yourself at a deeper level. It’s a chance to go inward and ask how your outer world is reflecting your inner world.
Where are you not appreciating yourself? Where are you hiding parts of yourself vs. celebrating them? Where are you minimizing yourself or your efforts? Is there a voice in your head telling you that nothing you do is ever good enough?
If you want to use the trigger as a tool for transformation, here’s an easy process to follow:
- Notice you are triggered
- In your head or out loud, say, “I am choosing to use this trigger as a tool for transformation.” Place your hand on your heart, take a deep breath, and in your head or out loud, say, “I am safe at this moment. I am safe in my body. I am safe to know what is under this trigger” This will help move you out of the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response. Repeat it a few times if necessary.
- Grab a pen and paper for responsive writing. Choose one of the questions from the previous paragraph, and answer it. Write a response to the following prompt: “I can love and appreciate myself more by.”
Write whatever comes up. This is an exercise of responding vs. thinking so you can tap into your subconscious awareness.
It’s totally normal if it feels awkward at first. The more you practice, the easier it will get. When you have moments where the words flow out with ease, you are tapping into your subconscious awareness.
If drawing vs. writing is more your style, you can use the same prompts but draw representations of what you are feeling and noticing vs. writing out responses.
As you practice this process, choosing to embrace moments of feeling unappreciated as tools for transformation, you will know, understand, and love yourself more deeply. You will be able to shift your inner world and feel a deeper appreciation for yourself.
As your inner appreciation grows, the appreciation you experience in the outer world will grow too.
Angela Ficken, LICSW
Licensed Psychotherapist, Progress Wellness
Have a conversation about your experience
When someone is feeling underappreciated, it’s usually because they feel they are doing more than their fair share at work, at home, or in a relationship.
What do you do if you are feeling this way?
Start by listing the tasks or things you are doing that feel more than what you want to be doing or leave you feeling unappreciated. Are there things on the list that you can delegate, or are small enough that you can cut out entirely? What items on the list do you want to bring attention to your boss, co-workers, or partner?
Having a conversation about your experience and how you are feeling is important. No one is a mind reader, and unless you share how you are feeling, no one will know — even if you feel like it’s obvious.
Keep the conversation in “I statement” rather than “you don’t do this.” It helps keep the focus on your experience rather than blaming, which just puts the other person on ‘defense,’ and that doesn’t help you.
Being appreciated makes us feel good. It helps affirm our efforts are not fruitless and that we’re making a difference in someone else’s life. However, what do we do when acknowledgment and affirmation are lacking?
Know your “why”
Rather than give others a piece of your mind by complaining about feeling unappreciated, stop and consider “why” you feel the need to be appreciated in the first place (i.e., your motivation).
Case in point: If you had known ahead of time that your acts of service would go unnoticed and unappreciated, would you have still gone through with them?
If yes, then your “why” supersedes recognition and protects you from getting your feelings hurt. If not, then your “why” is based more on appreciative expectations than true selflessness.
Keep doing the right thing
Rather than measure success or failure based upon recognition, learn to be content with knowing your random acts of kindness have blessed others regardless of whether they are acknowledged or not.
Case in point: If you’re about to walk into a store or restaurant and see others walking right behind you, holding the door for them is the courteous and considerate thing to do, right?
However, what if they fail to express their thanks? Does that mean you’ll never hold the door for another person ever again? Not likely, because doing the right thing should always trump whether people express appreciation or not.
Change the narrative
Grace is another word for unmerited favor, meaning it is a gift that is unearned and unexpected. You cannot pay or negotiate for it. It is simply given freely without any need for repayment.
Case in point: If you know people who are having a bad day or battling a season of trials in their lives, don’t expect them to think outside the box and acknowledge you. Change the narrative and chalk it up as grace instead.
Reframing acts of service under the category of “grace” helps you guard against expectation and focuses your attention on a greater purpose. For when you bless others when they least deserve it, you’re infinitely being blessed in return, whether you realize it or not.
Keep practicing the golden rule
When appreciation is lacking, it’s easy to get discouraged and throw in the towel. However, personal growth takes time, which means we may never see the fruits of our labor if we give up before our seeds of kindness are given time to mature.
Case in point: Those you love may struggle to affirm you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to retaliate in return and give them the silent treatment. Practice the golden rule and treat others how you prefer to be treated as well.
If you model the behavior you’d like to receive from others with sincerity, patience, and understanding, the seeds of affirmation you sow will blossom over time and produce a bountiful harvest you’ll gladly reap.
Remote Work Expert
Look inward to know yourself, then speak up
It’s normal to feel unappreciated sometimes. Before you place the blame on someone else, it’s important to look inward and try to gain more insight into why you are feeling this way.
It can help to write down what you find out in a journal or a simple notepad.
You can start with a few prompts:
- “When did this start?”
- “How does this make me feel?”
- “What can I do about it?”
- “What do I want?”
- “What makes me happy?”
- “Who do I need to feel appreciation from?”
- “Why do I need their approval?”
- “What am I great at?“
The answers to these questions can be telling. Chances are, you’ve been talking negatively to yourself about yourself for a long time. This is a big driver of feeling unappreciated. You are your biggest critic! You should be your greatest fan.
Get negative self-talk out of your vocabulary
First and foremost, get negative self-talk out of your vocabulary, and start repeating positive mantras to yourself throughout the day until it becomes a habit.
Think of your own or try this one: “I work hard, I’m talented, and I deserve the respect and appreciation of my peers.”
Commit to building others up
Second, make a commitment to building others up. If negative self-talk is the #1 reason you are feeling low, gossiping about others might be the next in line. Eliminate this negativity from your life by refusing to engage in the rumor mill.
Cognitive science shows that when we do positive things for others, like giving them genuine compliments, helping out with small tasks, or simply just listening and being present, it has a very positive impact on our own mental health and well-being.
It follows that engaging in nastiness and negativity decreases our perception of well-being.
If you’ve mastered the art of positive self-talk, you don’t engage in negative gossip and rumors about others, and you’re still feeling unappreciated, it may be time to speak up.
Before you do, be careful to speak your truth in a way that allows the other person to hear what you need without becoming defensive. Keep your comments focused on your emotions and needs and not the other person’s words or actions.
Here is an example: “I’ve worked very hard on this project for the last month and am feeling insecure about the next steps. Can we meet this week so I can present my findings and receive your feedback?”
Public Relations Diploma Graduate | Former Freelance Writer & Social Media Enthusiast
Reach out to friends and family
I phone, text, or FaceTime long-distance friends and relatives to blow off some steam, update them and find out what they’ve been doing. Keeping them in the loop while you are busy with work or other activities is good.
It’s also nice planning future events with them so you can look forward to something special.
Do some self-care
I used to get facials done quite often, but now I find myself becoming more frugal and using face masks about once a week. I prefer using sheet masks because they are less messy and often hydrating.
Showering more often also helps me get ready for the morning or unwind at the end of the day. I used to take baths but find that it’s harder for me to get the right temperature, and it’s a longer wait time to fully enjoy the experience. Also, showering instead of bathing conserves more water.
Do some writing or art
I like to put down my thoughts in a journal to help me cope with any personal challenges. I try to put a positive spin on things if I find myself upset or disappointed by a situation.
I also like to doodle and scrapbook too because it helps with creativity. I want to look through my old notebooks to see if my interests have changed.
Walk away from the situation when you feel overwhelmed
I enjoy walking in nature on the weekends or even walking away from a situation when I feel overwhelmed. I don’t feel the pressure to get a certain number of steps per day, but it definitely helps me be more active.
Sometimes I run into people I know while walking, so it becomes a social activity.
Decluttering can be a form of therapy
Instead of retail therapy, I find myself feeling better after organizing my room by getting rid of old papers and magazines and donating clothing. I used to follow fast fashion and beauty trends religiously, and now I can’t be bothered to keep everything I have purchased simply because I am running out of space.
Also, I don’t have the luxury of spending a lot of time getting ready with my work outfits, so I try to keep only the things I use or wear often.
Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, Spices & Greens
When you feel unappreciated, it is easy to take it personally. However, it is important to remember that how someone treats you is a reflection of their own issues and has nothing to do with you.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unappreciated, there are a few things you can do to reframe your thinking and regain your equilibrium:
Understand where the other person is coming from
First, try to understand where the other person is coming from. What might be going on in their life that is causing them to act this way? It’s also important to remember that we all have different love languages.
Just because someone doesn’t show their appreciation for you in the same way you show your appreciation for them doesn’t mean they don’t care.
Examine your own self-appreciation
Second, taking a step back and examining your self-appreciation is important. Do you appreciate yourself? If not, it’s possible that what you see in others is a reflection of what you see in yourself.
If you want to feel more appreciated:
- Start by appreciating yourself.
- Show yourself some kindness and compassion.
- Treat yourself with respect and love.
Showing your appreciation for others more often
Finally, try showing your appreciation for others more often.
When we focus on what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we often find that our relationships become much more fulfilling. Plus, studies have shown that expressing gratitude has several benefits for our mental and physical health.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Pinpoint why you feel unappreciated
In the HBO series The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels’ character says, “The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.” You’ve probably heard variations of this sentiment because it holds merit.
If you feel unappreciated, you won’t be able to rectify the situation until you understand why you feel this way. Did you help someone, and they didn’t say “thank you”? Were you at your job, and was someone else given credit for your work? Once you recognize the why, you can work on doing something about it.
Don’t always expect gratitude for your actions
One of my favorite things is practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
I can’t take credit for this fantastic idea. It is known as the Random Acts of Kindness, or RAK, movement and was started by Anne Herbert in 1982.
When practicing RAK, you don’t do these things because you expect or want to be acknowledged for your actions. You do them because it’s the right thing to do.
The more you practice this, the more you’ll realize that self-gratification and knowing you have done something good can be equally or more gratifying than getting appreciation from others.
Give appreciation to get appreciation
Maybe people aren’t inclined to show you their appreciation because they don’t witness you showing your appreciation. Since “you reap what you sow,” try practicing showing appreciation to others.
Hopefully, the people who aren’t providing you any appreciation will see you making an effort to acknowledge the work of others, and they will be inclined to do the same.
Express your feelings
It might be appropriate for you to speak up, depending on the situation. You have the right to say something if you believe you should be acknowledged and appreciated.
Talk to the person or people you feel have been unappreciative of you. Just be ready for the possibility that by telling them how you feel, you are opening the doors to them telling you how they feel. You might be told things you aren’t ready for or didn’t expect to hear.
Spend more time with friends and loved ones
If you feel unappreciated at work, spend more time at home getting the appreciation you crave from the ones you love. Do this by spending more time with your friends, family, and those you care most about. These are the people that understand you the best and will be there to lift you up.
Health and Wellness Consultant | Speaker | Founder, Simple Healthy Living
Change your point of view
When any one of us goes through life and feels unappreciated, we have to see this as a gift versus something bad.
Pause and take a beat
When you are feeling unappreciated, pause and take a moment to reflect and explore what you can actively do to understand the needs of others. Are you feeling unappreciated because you’re not meeting their needs?
Ask for feedback
When you feel unappreciated, always ask for feedback. Make sure to listen and understand or listen to respond. Make sure to repeat what you heard and then ask if there’s anything else. Give time and space until all is said and they understand that you received it.
The next step is to own, validate, and offer an apology if one is needed.
Build a connection
Once a person feels understood, ask permission from that person to express your part of the story. Most people need help understanding what will build the bridge between two parties and create a world where both parties feel understood and validated.
When you put effort into this understanding, you will be appreciated.
Focus on your own impact
I focus on my impact whenever I’m feeling unappreciated.
Through this, I can focus all my time and energy on what I do while disregarding what others might think of me, good or bad. I can think of and focus on doing the long-term goal rather than being short-sighted and considering others’ approval for short-term results with what I do.
Become intrinsically motivated
Becoming intrinsically motivated also allows me to be okay whenever I feel unappreciated. In this way, motivation and inspiration come from within and with others or someone else; this allows me to continue going even if there’s a feeling of unappreciation.
Lastly, since I am intrinsically motivated, I don’t let my emotions control me, so the feeling of unappreciation wouldn’t be an issue.
Licensed Realtor | Founder, Suburbrealtor
Even as kids, we have been taught the culture of showing appreciation for favors and benefits others have allowed us.
Though many may not understand its value, the truth is that, as humans, we are psychologically programmed to always expect something in return for our good deeds. And because we live in a society where expectations are often met with disappointments, it is better to find joy in our deeds first.
This way, we care less about the appreciation of others.
Find fulfillment in your efforts
I understand how difficult it can be when others fail to acknowledge your efforts, especially when they have directly benefited from them.
I used to be very bothered by this. In fact, at some point, I will deliberately avoid doing anything that would reward anyone but myself.
Fortunately, I soon realized the futility of this because, as an authentic human being, I shouldn’t be seeking validation from others or becoming the person I would rather not be because they failed to appreciate my worth.
Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers
Appreciate your partner
Perhaps it has become an issue for both of you when you feel unappreciated in a relationship. If you show your partner sincere appreciation, you could start to feel valued more yourself.
Be open and honest with your partner
If further discussions with your partner are necessary, make sure to keep a calm, courteous demeanor and refrain from blaming them.
When expressing your feelings, start with “I” statements and provide specific examples of actions or patterns of actions that make you feel unappreciated. This may help your partner understand what you require in order to stop feeling taken advantage of and disrespected.
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