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How To Deal With The Hurt Of Feeling Unappreciated

Updated: Oct 14, 2021


Feeling unappreciated can be an extremely gutted feeling for many of us.


This emotion may seem harmless compared to fear, anxiety or depression but yet it possesses a power big enough to make us leave a relationship, our family and very often - our jobs.

As with every difficult emotion, if we want to heal and let go, we will need to excavate the deeper meaning of it.

In this article, let us breakdown the emotion of feeling unappreciated, why do we need to be appreciated and how we can release our dependency on it.

If you are struggling with the painful feelings of being taken for granted in all that you do, for your parents, your children, your life partner or for your boss, I hope the following insights will help you acquire a whole new perspective in dealing with this emotion.


WHY IS FEELING UNAPPRECIATED SO PAINFUL?

In the Emotional Healing Therapy, the feeling of unappreciated or "taken for granted “is the feeling of being treated with careless indifference; not given thanks or for something accomplished, similar to being ignored.

We feel good and safe only when our basic emotional needs are met. Hence, if you look deeper, the underlying desire to be appreciated is none other than to feel loved, to feel secured and to feel worthy.

The lack of being appreciated is not just a simple feeling of being ignored but it actually triggers threat to our survival instinct.

A woman who devoted all her love and efforts to please her man, can give up and go into complete shutdown when her man remains cold towards her.

An employee who worked extra hours everyday to help the boss fulfill a deadline but ended up being reprimanded for not doing enough, can flip the table and call it quits.

These reactions to being unappreciated are the emotional survival response of fight, flight or freeze.

Hence, the next time you feel your heart torn apart when your efforts are being ignored, do recognise that it is actually an automated response from your limbic system in the face of perceived threat.

In another words, being unappreciated brings out the fear of not being loved, not safe or unworthy. These are the real underlying reasons that cause the emotional pain.


By breaking down and knowing the inner feelings of being unappreciated, we can slow down our negative reactions. Because now we know that we may be over-amplifying the pain caused by sense of vulnerability.


Emotional awareness is a great stopper to over-reaction. When we become clearer about what and why we feel certain ways, we can better self-regulate and navigate out of the emotional current.


WHY WILL SOMEONE TAKE YOU FOR GRANTED?

Before we get ourselves all wrapped up by the emotions, we can ask ourselves one mindful question - why will the person take you for granted despite all that you have done?

Note that the key difference in this self-inquiry is not why he or she should appreciate you as a person or what you have done, but why will he or she not.

By changing our offensive questioning to conscious reasoning, we introduce new patterns into our emotional reactions.

For example, when you get upset that everyone just left the dining table after finishing the food. You took the initiative to clear the table and wash the dishes. When you walked into the living room, there was not a word of thanks. In fact, you realised that they already finished the fruit desert without leaving any for you. This is not the first time, but has been an occurring situation in your family.

In the face of this gutted feeling of being unappreciated, what can you do differently to shift your emotions?

So, instead of debating in your heart, why they should appreciate you as a mother and wife. Reframe your self-inquiry to "why will they not appreciate my efforts?".

Be as objective as you can in your answers. Perhaps you have been doing this in the last 15 years, hence, everyone in the house is used to your habit and do not feel the need to acknowledge. Or maybe you had always complained and rejected help in cleaning the dining table because you don’t trust their cleanliness standards, hence everyone assumed that they are simply obeying your wishes. And perhaps you have done the same in the past, when you don't find the need to say thanks when the daughter bought food back home or when the husband helped to bring the garbage downstairs.

When you are able to self-reflect and practise conscious reasoning, instead of jumping into negative conclusion, once again, you slow down your reaction to feeling hurt and offended.


But remember that this self-inquiry is not to find blame. The key purpose is to allow more perspectives to enlighten your circumstances so that you can avoid turning the emotion into self-judgement such as I am not loved, I am not worthy.



IS YOUR DESIRE TO BE APPRECIATED A CONSCIOUS CHOICE?

I believe to give gratitude is clearly a golden virtue but to expect to be appreciated in return may not be so.

Because as soon as we create invisible standards and conditions to our efforts, we create a transactional relationship that takes away our true joy in giving.

When we feel painful of being unappreciated, it also reveals the hidden desire for specific forms of returns.

Of course a mother will expect gratefulness from their own children, just like a husband from the wife or a long service employee from the company. We can say this is human nature. However, a subtle distinction here is whether this personal desire is made by conscious choice or automated expectation.

If this choice is of conscious nature, then it should not carry pain of fear, hurt, anger and sadness when appreciation is not felt. Simply because our actions are purely based on our genuinity in doing our best. Appreciation will be appreciated but otherwise, we will still feel good about what we have done. The reward is in the doing itself, not the external approvals.

Hence, when you decide to invest your efforts in a relationship, in caring for your parents, or dedicating yourself to a company, make sure this is a conscious choice made with unconditional love and true joy in doing it.

This way, you free and lighten your life by having zero burden in waiting for outside appraisals for your actions.


ARE YOU SURE THEY ARE NOT APPRECIATING YOU?

Like most Asian families, my family feels awkward saying "thank you" or giving hugs. However, the arrival of two little nephews had loosen everybody's tension and now we all follow their playful responses of saying "thank uuuuu" "hug hug" "high five- fist pumps".

It made me realised that sometimes, your closest ones do not say thanks not because they do not appreciate but it is just a communication barrier.

When my love relationship with my partner finally hit the rock of the rocks, I had no choice but to force him to give me his birth date and time to save us all.

As soon as I plotted his astrological natal chart, all my emotions were resolved. Turned out that we are both totally from the opposite planets when it comes to communication. I am vocal, sensitive and can articulate myself easily. Him, on the other hand, is a typical logic driven Taurian that believes in actions more than words. When we finally put our differences on the table, I realised how silly I was in being so mad that I was not being appreciated by him. I was just blindsided by my insistence on seeing his appreciation in the specific ways that I wanted, through words and text. Yet all these while I refused to see and accept his efforts of showing me his love though his own ways.


When we expect appreciation, we began to set invisible standards to see appreciation in the form that we want. This can sometimes cause us to assume that we are not being appreciated.


APPRECIATE YOURSELF, APPRECIATE YOUR LIFE

Finally, while you are waiting eagerly for the world to acknowledge your efforts, do realise that someone else is also waiting for your appreciation - and that is your beloved self and your beloved life.

We cannot stop the painful emotion of feeling unappreciated as it is a nature in us to need some form of positive responses to feel good. However, we can certainly empower ourselves to not let this emotion bring us down.

  1. Balance your source of appreciation - cut down on the dependency for outside approvals and prioritise self-appreciation as the most powerful recognition for your efforts

  2. Bring presence to your efforts - whatever you do, do it with a genuine intention of giving and fully enjoy the process, instead of doing and expecting appreciation at the same time

  3. Throw away judgement and assumptions - many times, our sense of under-appreciation stems from unreliable sources such as our own judgement and assumptions. Learn to find out the truth before you get tricked by fake news

  4. Giving gratitude is more powerful than receiving appreciation - the more you give, the more you receive

Thank you so much for staying with me through the article, I truly appreciate your time and energy.

Remember, you are always loved, you are safe, and you are worth it. And no one appreciates you more than your powerful heart. Empower yourself from within and you unlock a whole new level of bliss into your life.

Let go of all painful emotions to create space for joyful emotions.

Love you all,

Silvia

 


Silvia Siow | Emotional Healer & Coach | Certified Emotion Code™ Practitioner


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