Have you ever heard yourself say, or said to yourself, “No one appreciates me.”? I used to say this to myself all the time. I was constantly giving myself up to please others and then ended up feeling completely unappreciated and resentful – until I learned how to take loving care of myself and appreciate myself.
I encountered this recently with Jayden, a young man who consulted with me after his girlfriend left him and he got fired from his job as a construction worker. An alcoholic who had stopped drinking last year, he was back to drinking.
“I gave so much to my girlfriend and worked so hard at the job. I don’t understand this. No one ever appreciates me,” he said with a resentful whine in his voice. Jayden was obviously feeling like a victim of his girlfriend and his boss.
“Are you saying that your girlfriend and your boss never offered you praise or compliments?”
“Well, yes they did, but I still feel unappreciated, because she left and he fired me.”
“Were you able to take in their praise and compliments?”
“What do you mean?”
“Jayden, did their praise and compliments make you feel good inside, or did you just slough them off?”
“I mostly sloughed them off because I didn’t think they meant it, and I was right. If they would have meant it, she wouldn’t have left and he wouldn’t have fired me.”
“Is it possible that they fired you because of your attitude? You seem very angry and you are acting like a victim – as if they are responsible for your feelings instead of you taking responsibility. Do you ever appreciate yourself?”
“Jayden, do you ever appreciate yourself?”
“No. I don’t like myself.”
“So you try to please everyone to get them to approve of you, but when they do you don’t believe them because you don’t think you are good enough. Then you feel angry and resentful because you don’t feel appreciated.
It’s my guess that your girlfriend left and your boss fired you because of your anger and resentment. Your closed, blaming, angry energy is tough to be around.
Until you are willing to learn how to take loving care of yourself and value yourself, you will likely continue to have these problems. Are you willing to learn to do this?”
Jayden indicated that he was. Here is what I suggested he practice:
“Start paying attention to your feelings, and whenever you feel angry or resentful, notice what you are telling yourself and how you are treating yourself that is causing these feelings.
I know you believe these feelings are being caused by others, but this is not true. They are being caused by your own self-abandonment: giving yourself up to please others; judging yourself; turning to alcohol to numb your feelings rather than taking responsibility for them, and blaming others for your feelings.
“Imagine that you have an older, wiser self whom you can turn to for the truth. We have all been programmed with hundreds of false beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world, and these lies cause us much pain.
When you become aware of one of these lies, such as ‘I’m not good enough’, or ‘No one ever appreciates me,’ imagine your older wiser self and ask ‘What is the truth?’ and ‘What is the loving action toward myself?’
As you learn to appreciate yourself and treat yourself better, you will find your anger going away.
“Are you willing to start to practice this?”
“Yes, I am.”
Jayden did practice and within a few months, he and his girlfriend re-united. She was able to tell him how much she loves him and how heartbroken she felt whenever he blamed her for his feelings.
By learning to take responsibility for his own feelings and appreciate himself, he was surprised to discover that he now felt appreciated by her.
Written by Margaret Paul, PhD
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