4 Things to Do When You Feel Unappreciated

It’s a cruel, cruel world. Most of the appreciation you receive in life happens when you’re young and incompetent or after you’re dead. In between, you have a measure of competence and you’re expected to get busy using it.

Expectation ends gratitude.


People aren’t grateful for what they expect. There comes a point when you’re expected to keep your shoes tied, food off your face, and your pants zipped up.

Gratitude is limited to first accomplishments. After that, success is expected.

Parents go nuts when their children learn to use the potty. I don’t blame them. But, there comes a point when no one is excited that you can use the toilet on your own.

The cruel truth:

Everyone who deeply invests in an organization, project, or person has felt under-appreciated. No one understands the amount of energy you’re expending or the full weight of the load you carry.

To make matters worse, competence is taken for granted.


Feelings of under-appreciation turn into self-defeating anger, self-pity, bitterness, and foot-dragging.

Dealing with under-appreciation:

  1. Invite trusted friends to share their success. Share yours. Create environments where bragging is OK, once in a while.
  2. Work hard because of who you are.
  3. Express appreciation when you receive appreciation.
  4. Value your work like you hope others will. Don’t say, “It was nothing.”

Be grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Showing gratitude:

Someone on your team feels unappreciated.

Unappreciated people, under-perform.

  1. Give back-handed complements. Ask, “How can you bring your talent to this situation?”
  2. Honor competence. “One of the things I admire about you is ________.”
  3. Focus on giving appreciation, not receiving it.
  4. Gratitude reinforces behaviors. If you want more of something, show gratitude for it.
  5. Keep pressing into the future. Gratitude doesn’t create complacency when you press toward new goals.
  6. Give hit-and-run expressions of gratitude.

What strategies address issues of under-appreciation?

How have you shown appreciation, in the last 24 hours, to key people you work with?

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