What Causes A Lack of Appreciation?
The husband is constantly complaining how hard he has to work, “I have to put in more hours every day composing emails, when I used to just be able to walk down the hall and talk to people. There is also so much more accountability, better known as “busywork” paperwork, and it is driving me crazy!”
The wife gets defensive, “Well I have to be at home with the kids all day long. I have to drag them with me everywhere I go, so everything take twice as long. I only can straighten up the house, while they are napping or watching TV. Then you complain I am giving them too much screen time. I never get time to myself. At least you get to lock yourself away alone everyday.”
Neither one feels acknowledged and instead they feel resentful and angry.
Appreciation is a Game Changer
My client, Lucy was in this negative dynamic with her husband and so I recommended she simply appreciate him when he complained.
Lucy’s husband, “I am so tired of having to be locked in the tiny guest room in the back of the house and sitting on that #$%& chair!”
Lucy to her husband, “Thank you for all that you have to put up with and I can’t even imagine how hard that must be. I really appreciate all you do to provide for our family.”
She said he instantly seemed relieved, extremely touched and sincerely thanked her.
His mood switched in a matter of seconds.
That night he asked if he could rub her feet for her, while they watched TV in bed.
She felt very happy and close to him.
Why Do I Have To Be The One?
I often get asked “Why do I have to be the one to show appreciation? I contribute too!”
A valid question.
I am always encouraging clients to empower themselves to get what they want verses trying to get the other person to make them happy.
Feeling appreciated is what makes it “worth it” for someone to do something for you.
The appreciation increases their satisfaction and so they naturally want to put more effort into whatever they are providing.
It is so simple and so magical.
Do You Feel Unappreciated?
During this time of Covid, we all are spending an unprecedented amount of time with family, siblings and roommates.
In such close proximity and with daily exposure, it is normal to start evaluating what other people are contributing and providing for us.
“He never cleans up after himself. I am always the one doing the dishes.”
“She spends most of the day talking to friends, while the kids play video games.”
The comparison and judgment often makes us feel on one hand, resentful and on the other hand, unappreciated.
What Creates Resentment?
Several scenarios create frustration and resentment:
•You have to lock yourself in your backroom home office, grinding all day on your computer connecting with people only on Zoom or by phone. Your only break is going down and occasionally joining the chaos of the family or roommates or stopping to eat.
•You are a stay-at-home spouse or out of work and so you have taken on most of the household responsibilities – cooking, cleaning, shopping, gardening, fixing, etc.
•In addition to working or managing the household chores, you now have to essentially be the taskmaster and, at times, the teacher for your kids. You are supposed to be able to help them with their classwork and create structure, so they are successful and get all their school work done.
•You have taken on the role of caretaker for someone that is sick or elderly. Even if you graciously volunteered for the role, you now have given up a lot of personal time and your personal needs.
So it is normal to feel out of sorts and at times resentful of other people, if you feel they are not carrying their weight.
It is also normal for you to have the expectation that since you are working hard, the other person should be grateful for what you are providing, even if you are not showing THEM appreciation.
Expectations Are The Killer of Appreciation
Expectations are so tricky.
Here is the unfortunate reality…
If someone meets your expectations, there is zero gain for them. They often don’t get any recognition, let alone appreciation from you.
If someone is able to exceed your expectations then a new bar is set.
Next time you expect them to do the same, so again there is no appreciation for now meeting your new and higher expectations.
Watch out if that person does not meet your expectations, because then you are disappointed and there is often no appreciation even for their efforts.
Can you see why most people don’t even want to try and meet your expectations?
The Appreciation Equation
Here is an equation that determines our willingness to provide:
The Appreciation We Receive – What We Provide = How It Makes Use Feel
For example, you work at a job and you are paid a salary.
You take the value of appreciation (your salary) and subtract it from what you feel you are providing (your work)…
When you think of your salary and the value you provide in the job, if they are equal you feel good.
If you feel you are way over performing compared to the salary you are making, then you will feel resentful.
You will feel good and maybe even feel guilty if you feel the value of the salary is higher than the work you are providing.
The Drive To Be Fair
Most people have a need for equality and fairness.
This can be used to your advantage. Here is how…
Your employee, your spouse, your roommate will feel compelled to give more, when they feel like they have come out ahead.
However the reverse is also true. If they feel they are giving more, they will feel compelled to take away or give less.
BEING APPRECIATED IS WHAT MAKES ANOTHER PERSON FEEL LIKE THEY ARE COMING OUT AHEAD.
How To Get More Of What You Need
Are you struggling in your relationships at home or at work? Showing appreciation is a big step to help start shifting the dynamics.
If you need more in-depth help and strategies, click the graphic below to set up a free clarity session with me.