We all want to be appreciated.
Whether it is something little or something big, we all want to be acknowledged. We all want to feel that our efforts and works are appreciated.
The power of gratitude is important to our own ability to do and to have things, but we cannot deny the power of appreciation. We need to be grateful for things, but we also need to be acknowledged and appreciated for the things we do.
I know no one who does not appreciate hearing “Thank you!” or “I appreciate that” or “That was really great of you” or “Dude, you rock!” The appreciation, whether for an act you have performed or a job you have done or simply for you being you goes a long ways towards how you feel on a daily basis.
I have said many times throughout Pathwalking that we are each responsible for our own feelings. No one “makes” us feel a certain way, though it is undeniable that the actions of others and outside influences will affect how we feel. We can choose how to let things phase us, and we can choose whether to let a feeling an outside influence produces linger or be let go.
One of the worst feelings you can have is feeling unappreciated. In especial when others around you are being shown appreciation, and you are not. Whether you watch someone you consider a peer receive some sort of award or recognition that you feel you also deserve, or whether someone you have been partnered with is thanked and you are not, there is nothing more disconcerting than feeling unappreciated.
Worse, the feeling of being unappreciated can very easily spiral into darker, even more negative places. It is not hard to go from feeling unappreciated to feeling disconnected to feeling unloved to feeling unimportant to feeling sad to feeling angry to feeling hopeless…you get the idea. And we have all been there, haven’t we?
The first thing we have to acknowledge about this is this: You can do nothing to change how others appreciate you, or don’t. Once the act of appreciation or neglect has happened, it is done. Attempting to change it is a waste of time and energy. All we can do is accept it and move on.
Hold the phone. No. I worked hard on ‘x’ or I gave an incredible amount of effort to ‘y’ and I want that acknowledged! I will not accept this disregard! I know that feeling, and I am here to tell you that, sorry, this instance is over. It has happened, and you cannot go back and change it. All you can do is accept it, and move on.
Now that is not to say that you do not have the right to feel hurt, to feel angry, to feel dismissed, to feel neglected, to feel unappreciated. We are human beings, and this is a part of our nature. And since we need appreciation, when we do not get it it hurts. That sinking, disquieting sensation in your chest is extremely unpleasant, and it feels awful. I am not telling you to ignore the feeling, because you simply cannot.
What I am suggesting here is not to hold onto it for too long. We have control over how long we will let that terrible feeling linger, and we can choose to let it settle into our being and fester for hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or what-have-you. Holding onto that unhappy, negative sensation does not serve you. It does not let you move forward, it is a roadblock, an iceberg, a canyon with no way across, and it will make your path non-traversable.
Let the feeling happen, because you cannot stop it. But you can choose to not hold onto it for too long.
What comes next, though, is key to continuing to walk your own path. What do you do with regards to the person or persons who did not appreciate you? Do you continue to do good work even though you are not feeling appreciated for what you do? Do you do less? Do you do more? Do you lash out, and seek retribution for the hurt you have received?
Here are my thoughts on these important questions. First, and most importantly, whether you receive appreciation or no, you should not stop being you. You should continue to act as you act, within your own nature, no matter if you receive acknowledgement or no.
What if what I was doing I was doing FOR the person who did not appreciate me? Do I have to keep doing what I was doing? If it no longer makes you feel good, and it no longer serves your path in life, then by all means move on. What you should NOT do is lash out. You should not belittle or show a lack of appreciation in retaliation for the slight you have received. That will only make things worse. Remember, negative acts beget negative acts. You have to break the cycle or it will continue.
In that vein comes the even more important part of this. If negative begets negative, then conversely positive begets positive. If you want to get appreciation, SHOW appreciation. And we circle back to gratitude. But this is not gratitude for your own things, you own place in life, this is gratitude for other people. This is showing the same appreciation you wish to receive.
Remember to thank people. Remember to compliment people. Remember to show people that you appreciate them for what they do, and who they are. Appreciation is a two-way street, and when we give it, we get it. Yes, this is much harder after you have been slighted, but that does not mean it should be neglected.
Let me conclude with this: I sincerely appreciate you. Whether I know you personally or otherwise, whether you agree with the things I write here or not, I appreciate you. Thank you for reading, thank you for letting me share these thoughts and ideas with you. You are wonderful, and I cannot express to you enough how grateful I am for your time. You, dear reader, are an awesome person.
This is the ninetieth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.