What to Do When You’re Feeling Unappreciated

Whether it’s at work, in your personal relationships, or even during your daily interactions, not feeling valued can leave you feeling down, frustrated, or even invisible.

But here’s the thing—many of us face these feelings, but what matters is how we handle them.

From identifying why you feel unappreciated to taking actionable steps, get ready to turn these challenges into opportunities for personal growth and empowerment.

Communicate for More Appreciation

Sometimes, the simple act of telling people how you feel can make a big difference. Imagine you’re at work, tirelessly putting in extra hours, but it feels like your efforts vanish into thin air. It’s not needy to want a bit of a pat on the back; it’s human!

Start by gently expressing your feelings to the people involved. “Hey, I’ve been really pushing my limits on this project, and I’d appreciate any feedback you might have.” This non-confrontational approach opens up a channel for dialogue and lets others know where you stand.

"Accept that you are 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."

Anna Scheller | CEO, Capri Temporary Housing | Speaker | Success Coach

Give Feedback About Your Needs

When you’re feeling unappreciated, giving specific feedback about what you need can clarify misunderstandings. Start by identifying what makes you feel valued. Maybe you appreciate verbal praise, or perhaps small acts of kindness speak louder to you.

But remember, timing and context matter a lot. Choose a moment when both you and the other party are calm and receptive. Avoid moments of high stress or conflict, as your feedback might be misunderstood as criticism.

Explain your feelings using “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory—like saying, “I feel overlooked when I don’t hear any feedback on my work; it would help me if I knew what you think about my efforts.

Stand Up for Yourself

If someone overlooks your contributions consistently, despite communicating your feelings and needs, it might be time to assert yourself a bit more. It doesn’t mean you have to be confrontational. It’s about respecting yourself enough to say, “Hey, I matter.”

This is how you do it without stepping on toes:

  • Address the issue as soon as it happens; don’t let it brew.
  • Stick to the facts and keep emotions in check. For example, “I noticed I wasn’t credited in today’s meeting for the work I contributed.
  • Suggest a way forward that acknowledges your input.

Say “No” More Often

When you’re the go-to person for, well, just about everything, people might start to take your yeses for granted. It’s like, sure, they appreciate you, but they might not show it because they’ve come to expect you’ll always be there to carry the load.

Here’s the thing, though—it’s totally okay to prioritize your time and energy.

Start small. Next time someone asks for a favor that will stretch you too thin, try something like, “I’d really like to help, but I can’t commit to that right now.” It sets a boundary and communicates that your time is valuable.

This isn’t about being unhelpful; it’s about respecting yourself enough to know when you’ve reached your limits. And often, when you value your own time, others will start to value it—and you—more too.

"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."

 Heather Wilson, LCSW, LCADC, CCTP | Executive Director, Epiphany Wellness

Develop Your Self-Appreciation

Feeling underappreciated can sometimes be linked to how we view ourselves. If you don’t appreciate you, who will, right? Now, I’m not talking about brushing off genuine neglect from others but more about recognizing your own awesomeness.

  • Start a self-appreciation journal. At the end of each day, jot down things you did well or compliments you received. It’s like giving yourself a high five for your hard work.
  • Practice some self-compassion. Forgive yourself for the mistakes and celebrate the wins, no matter how small.
  • Over time, you’ll build a solid foundation of recognizing your worth that no external undervaluation can shake.
"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."

— Ellie Borden, BA, RP, PCC | Registered Psychotherapist | Certified Life Coach | Clinical Director, Mind By Design

Invest Time in Your Interests

To feel appreciated, it’s crucial to invest time in things you’re passionate about. This might seem unrelated at first glance, but here’s the deal: when you’re glowing with excitement from doing what you love, that energy is contagious. People notice and, yes, start to appreciate the multifaceted gem you are.

Take me, for example. I love gardening, and I make time for it. When my friends see the fruits (and veggies) of my labor, their appreciation isn’t just for what I grow but for the dedication I put into my hobby. They get to see another side of me, and that recognition is priceless.

"Make time for creativity. Did you know that creative self-expression can help you feel more appreciated? When you make time for creativity, you are making a statement that you are worth it and that your voice matters."

— Emily Sharp, LCAT, ATR-BC, BC-TMH | Licensed Art Therapist, NY Art Therapy

Look for Evidence of People Appreciating You

Sometimes we overlook the signs of appreciation because they aren’t the big, flashy gestures we expect. So, why not take a moment to think about the little things?

Keep a lookout for:

  • Compliments that you might brush off as routine politeness.
  • Acts of kindness from others, no matter how small.
  • Moments when someone trusted you with important tasks—it shows they appreciate your reliability or skill.

Spend Time with People Who Value You

Let’s face it, being around people who appreciate and understand you can really lift your spirits. So, make a conscious effort to spend more time with friends and family who make you feel good about yourself.

Whether it’s sharing a meal, going for a walk, or having a heartfelt chat over coffee, quality time with these folks can reassure you that you are valued.

And don’t forget to return the favor! Show them that you value their company and contributions to your life. Appreciation is a two-way street, and expressing it can make you feel good too. It’s basically like having an appreciation party where everyone leaves feeling great!

Re-Evaluate Your Relationships

Sometimes, our paths just don’t align with others as we grow and change. If, despite your best efforts, you consistently feel undervalued, it may be time to think deeply about which relationships serve your well-being and which ones erode it.

Here’s what re-evaluating your relationships might involve:

  • Assessing how you feel before and after interactions. Drained or energised?
  • Considering if mutual respect is present. Do they support you like you support them?
  • Reflecting on changes over time. Has the relationship improved or deteriorated?

Take a Look at Your Impact

Sometimes we’re so focused on the feedback (or lack thereof) from others that we forget to measure our own impact. Take a step back and look at what you’ve done.

What projects have you contributed to? How have you helped a colleague or a loved one? Often, you’ll realize that your work has made positive ripples even if nobody has shouted about it.

Remember, appreciation isn’t always about grand gestures; sometimes, it’s about acknowledging the small victories. Just because others might not always see your impact doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Explore Volunteering Opportunities

Getting involved in volunteer work is a powerful way to see your value reflected back to you. It’s about giving, but it’s also about receiving—a sense of purpose, appreciation from others, and a connection to a larger cause. 

Not only does helping out make a tangible difference, but it’s also a way to meet people who appreciate your time and effort. You may not always get a loud “thank you,” but seeing your actions make a difference is a form of appreciation that can deeply resonate and last.

Look for Appreciation Through Actions

Sometimes, appreciation is not said out loud but shown in different ways. For instance, a friend who always makes time for you or a colleague who trusts you with important tasks—they’re showing they value you, even if they’re not saying it.

Noticing these signs requires a bit of mindfulness, but once you start spotting them, it’s like discovering a hidden layer of appreciation that’s been there all along.

"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."

— Christie Sears Thompson, MA, LMFT | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Relationship Coach, Trade Winds Therapy and Relationship Coaching

Model Appreciation

Often, showing appreciation can encourage others to do the same. Start small by thanking someone for their help or complimenting a coworker on their presentation skills. You might be surprised by how quickly the mood changes when you make the first move.

It’s about making appreciation a regular part of your interactions, almost like you’re throwing a small positivity pebble into a pond and watching the ripples spread.

Keep track of the small wins too. Did someone return your smile today? Acknowledge it, even if it’s just internally. Not only does this make your day a bit brighter, but it helps set a tone of gratitude around you. 

Reframe Negative Thoughts

It’s easy to get bogged down by negativity when you feel unappreciated. Maybe you start thinking no one notices your hard work or that your efforts are wasted. Here’s where you need to hit the pause button and shift those thoughts. Instead of letting them spiral, try to view the situation from a new angle.

Practice this shift:

  • If you catch a negative thought, pause and question it—is it based on facts or feelings?
  • Visualize a positive outcome or memory to counter the negativity.
  • Remind yourself of your accomplishments and the appreciation you’ve documented earlier.
"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."

— Angie Spartz, CECP | Intuitive Transformation Coach and Speaker, Phoenix Rising

Share Responsibilities

Sometimes, feeling underappreciated comes from simply having too much on your plate. It’s exhausting when you’re the go-to person for everything, right? Sharing responsibilities can lighten your load and also help others feel more involved and appreciated for their contributions.

Here’s how you can start:

  • Delegate tasks at work or home. It’s a practical way to lighten your load and let others show their capabilities.
  • Be transparent about your limits. It’s okay to say, “I can’t take on anything more right now,” and ask for help.
  • Celebrate team successes. When a project concludes, highlight everyone’s contribution, encouraging a culture of appreciation.

More Insights from the Experts

“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…

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.”

Melissa Wesner | Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor | Founder, LifeSpring Counseling Services

“Don’t always expect gratitude for your actions. One of my favorite things is practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty… 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.”

— AJ Silberman-Moffitt | Senior Editor, Tandem

“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.”

— Steve Carleton, LCSW, CACIII | Executive Clinical Director, Gallus Detox

“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?”

— Susanne M. Alexander | Relationship and Marriage Coach & Character Specialist, CharacterYAQ | Author, “Couple Vitality

Final Thoughts

Always remember, appreciating yourself is just as important as receiving it from others. And sometimes, the most fulfilling recognition comes from within, not from a chorus of cheers.

So, go ahead and affirm your own worth, communicate your needs without fear, and never forget that your value doesn’t diminish just because someone fails to see it.

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Bea is an editor and writer with a passion for literature and self-improvement. Her ability to combine these two interests enables her to write informative and thought-provoking articles that positively impact society. She enjoys reading stories and listening to music in her spare time.