Sedona Method Blog

Subscribe to Sedona Method RSS  Go to Blog Home

Feel Unappreciated in Your Job, at Home or Elsewhere?

March 11th, 2014 by Hale Dwoskin

You feel you put in your best effort at work, try hard to please your spouse and kids, and always fulfill other obligations in your life, too; yet no matter how hard you try, you simply don’t feel appreciated. While most of us have felt unappreciated at one time or another, if you feel distraught often because of this, then you are in a dangerous place, not only mentally but physically as well.

A person who feels they continually put in a lot of effort that is, in turn, taken for granted, is a ticking time bomb to which one of two things is likely to happen. One, the person may work overtime trying to please those around them (to get the positive response they rightfully crave), or, two, the person may start to resent their efforts and give up trying altogether.

Either scenario is ripe with the potential for mental upset and chronic stress, which in turn can lead to physical health problems. Meanwhile, both your job and your personal relationships could be at risk if you feel under-appreciated because receiving acknowledgment from those around us is a basic and fundamental need.

Why a Little Bit of Praise Goes a Long Way

If you like to receive praise for a job well done, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a full 40 percent of employees quit their jobs not because of salary or workload, but because they feel a lack of appreciation. It’s not surprising, then, that a Gallup Poll found that fewer than one in three Americans had received
any praise from a work supervisor in the last week.

“When people don’t get enough recognition, they ask themselves, ‘What am I doing this for? Nobody cares,'” says David Grazian, the director of corporate taxation at Granite Construction, Inc. “It’s not just about money. People want recognition; they want to be noticed and appreciated.”

But the need to receive acknowledgment is not just about feelings; it is driven by a very real biological response involving the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain, makes us feel pleasure, pride, contentment and a host of other good things. And it’s released when we receive recognition. On the other hand, when we’re expecting praise but don’t receive it, dopamine levels drop, leading to feelings of frustration, anger and anxiety.

Recognition Must be Replenished, Perhaps Even Daily

Most of us will go to great lengths to receive a pat on the back, and therefore another surge of this pleasure chemical, but when the praise stops coming in, trouble starts brewing.

Recognition is a short-term need that has to be satisfied on an ongoing basis — weekly, maybe daily, says Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist. We can draw on our big accomplishments, but we re-frame each day, every day.

This means that it’s necessary for people to feel appreciated on a routine basis. We can only store so much pleasure from a bit of praise before we need to hear some more.

“Food, drugs, even good experiences — they all give us a surge of dopamine, and so does recognition,” says Harter. “We’re all addicted to dopamine to some extent. Whether that’s good or bad depends on how people manage it.”

For instance, if your desire for dopamine drives you to work a bit harder on a big work project, and you’re paid off with a nice promotion, the addiction is a good thing.

However, if you find that your need to feel appreciated has turned you into a people pleaser — meaning you try to please people to the point that your own opinions, desires, needs or right to happiness are ignored — then it’s not such a good thing. In this case, The Sedona Method is an excellent tool that allows you to let go of the feelings and beliefs that lock you into the patterns of behavior that prevent you from taking care of yourself.

As you use The Sedona Method, you will ask yourself a series of simple questions and find that you come into balance. You will be able to live a life with room for yourself and others, helping others when it is appropriate and setting boundaries for yourself in a healthy and balanced way.

How to Garner the Appreciation You Deserve

If you are currently in a situation at work or at home where you feel unappreciated, realize that if things continue this way your job or personal relationships will likely suffer. However, the following steps will help you gain the acknowledgement you need and deserve to be happy.

  1. Talk about your feelings. The first step is to let your supervisor, spouse, etc., know that you need to feel more appreciated. Don’t accuse them, but do be direct and firm in what you need.
  2. Ask for what you want. Sometimes people don’t know just how to make you feel appreciated, so tell them. This could be, I’d like to schedule a monthly sit-down to discuss my work performance, or I need you to say thank you when I cook dinner every night.
  3. Listen to, and acknowledge, the other person. Allow the person to express how they feel about what you’ve
    said, and listen to their viewpoints. Then, give them time to make the changes you’ve requested. When they do show their appreciation, make sure you acknowledge their efforts to do so in return.