I wanted to write this text for anyone who has ever felt like people didn’t care for them, didn’t appreciate or even acknowledge what you did for them because I know the feeling quite well. This is not about writing depressed analogies, no. I wanted to share a realization that immediately killed this painful emotion of underappreciation and maybe someone will experience the same.
During my childhood, I felt underappreciated aaaall the time. And I guess it is normal to some extent, especially with two siblings and busy parents. More than once, I would run home crying because my friends “just didn’t do anything for me”. Well, past mini-me: you were an egotistic brat! I have to admit it: what in the heavens was I expecting? Red carpet entry, back rubs and unlimited compliments wherever I went? Sorry, but you’re not Lassie.
Years later, I planned something for a friend of mine and had so much fun with it, I thought I had accidentally swallowed ecstasy somehow. (I really don’t know how that would work but I was still a teen so don’t judge). The whole thing went down super rad and everyone was having a good time. But guess who came knocking a few hours later? UNDERAPPRECIATION. What the hell? Why would you show up and ruin this moment? And suddenly my mind seemingly forgot every positive thing this particular friend ever did for me and I felt like they didn’t care at all. And yes, that hurts. But here comes the part where I have the promised dramatic epiphany:
I always thought I put too much effort into making my friends happy because I never experienced the same from them. I always felt so excited and had ideas and did favors and thought this had to be the best thing ever for them. And no one ever did it for me. I never felt the same level of passion from them that I felt I had towards them. I was sad, disappointed and hated myself for being so ungrateful. I thought they just didn’t care as much as I did. Until I realized that they didn’t put less effort into it than me. I just enjoy giving way more than receiving. It makes me so incredibly happy when I manage to make someone smile and feel appreciated. It’s not that they are not trying the same for me. It’s just me loving to love people. This took me 10 years to realize.
So, there it is. This has literally changed my life because I could finally enjoy my friendships without constantly worrying about “unproportionate love”. I’m glad I’m able to see appreciation in all its shapes and forms and stopped measuring it like it was the last piece of chocolate cake I had to share with my sister. And by the way: friends and family are not the only ones who can make you happy. And they shouldn’t be! Treat yourself, love yourself, make yourself happy!
And just to be clear: I don’t want to encourage people to just tolerate anything from anyone. If you truly feel underappreciated, misunderstood, abandoned – please tell the person responsible. It is important to share these feelings and they are as legit and valid as true love. In my case, I was just really obsessed with happy moments and blamed my friends for supposedly not having any myself. And that made me completely blind to the many moments I actually did experience. So, next time you feel underappreciated: Maybe ask yourself if you’re a giver and not a receiver and hopefully it will make you feel better – just like it did for me. I’m a giver, you guys! So, here’s a puppy trying to catch a treat! You’re welcome!