Have you ever gone out of your way for others, went the extra mile, added some special touches to an ordinary moment only to be met with no reaction? No thank you. No extra appreciation. No acknowledgment of any kind.
Chances are it leaves you with a negative feeling.
Take heart. Most of the time someone's failure to affirm a good action on your part has nothing to do with you. Here are some examples.
You make a great dinner. Make your loved one all their favorites. Pamper them and they barely notice. It could be they are exhausted, distracted, or stressed. Chances are if you point out the extra work you went to, they would go out of their way to thank you.
Or let's say you rearranged your day, sat in traffic, got dressed up, and skipped eating just to make it to a special event and as soon as the event is over, your loved one goes off with others to celebrate. If this is a young person it is normal for them to want to hang with their peers. If it is your spouse and involves business, they may be networking. If it is a friend that has many friends they may have made plans you were not aware of.
What if you are helping a sick relative and they respond with criticism and negativity to all your efforts? It could be that they are in pain or they feel vulnerable and dependent which leaves them grateful but wishing they didn't need your assistance.
None of these scenarios are meant to be excuses for someone not to acknowledge and thank a person. They are simply a way to illustrate that often times a lack of affirmation has very little to do with you and everything to do with the other person.
So should you continue to go above and beyond if it is not noticed? You should ask yourself this question.
Why am I doing what I am doing?
Do I want to be noticed? Am I a people pleaser or need to be liked? Am I helping and giving in a genuine way which would mean that I shouldn't expect anything in return? Do I need praise from others to feel worthy?
I believe the key in any situation is communication. No one should feel taken advantage of. Expectations should be made clear from the start. If your efforts are not being acknowledged you should speak up and tell the other person how you feel. Most likely they will feel remorse for unintentionally hurting your feelings.
On the other hand if you have ulterior motives or just need to be cheered on often, reflect on why and set some boundaries for yourself. Do only what you can. Try to see any situation from both perspectives. Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. If you communicate that you are feeling unappreciated and the behavior continues, make a change.
You are in charge of your life. It is up to you to set the tone on how you want to be treated.
This is not easy but it is not impossible either. Most of the time we struggle with this because we are afraid of hurting those we love. Yet if we are doing things for others and feeling resentment we are hurting ourselves and ultimately the ones we care about as well.
I write this blog because I love to write and share what I have learned in life and how I feel, especially through poetry, in hopes that my words will inspire others. When someone thanks me or affirms my writing it makes me happy and grateful but I do not expect it. I affirm myself and I look to God for my validation. I'm not perfect but I have learned.
I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read my blog in these very busy times.
A great big thanks,