A mother complained to me she was doing so much for her children, but she got no appreciation in return. She was picking up after them, cleaning and cooking for them and nursed them while they were ill. People would have said she was just doing her duty. But I understood how she felt.
Everybody likes appreciation. Is there anyone who does not like praise, or compliments? It is an innate feeling, when a person is appreciated, he/she feels worthy. You are supposed to perform duties without expecting anything in return; but an appreciative nod will do wonders to the soul.
When you are in school, your teacher would write good, or very good on your test papers. And that pleased you a lot. You treasured it. Then you graduated to report cards, and later at work place you received appraisals, certificates of appreciation, rewards and perks. But you find that in your relationships, whether with friends or with family, there doesn’t seem to be any appreciation coming your way. Suddenly you find your reward book, where you would have chalked up your various rewards, is not having too many entries.
In a marital relationship, initially everything is new and exciting. You slip into your role, and soon start performing various chores without actually thinking about it. Soon days go by and you get into a comfort zone. You start performing certain chores automatically. And, later, you may start resenting the amount of work you do. It happens.
You find yourself doing a lot of stuff for your family, your children, elders and your spouse. You did take on certain responsibilities, but you reach a position when you feel you are being taken for granted. Your efforts are not appreciated, you do go out of your way, many a times, but there is no recognition. Then you start thinking life is not fair.
It would be unnatural to expect a thank you or any appreciation for every job you perform. The relationship will become formal. But a word of appreciation once in a while, does not come amiss. It gives you an additional pep to do your mundane chores.
Why does the feeling of taken for granted come in? If you analyze it you will realize that you could have allowed it to happen. When you tell you children you are cooking, cleaning for them out of love, they will come to appreciate it. You are doing it willingly, because you love them. If it was a duty, the quality wouldn’t be there. If they do not appreciate it, then just give them a taste of how different it would be otherwise. You as a parent must learn to teach your children appreciation.
You also have to understand people will treat you the way you want to be treated. If you wish to be the victim, and take on all chores, people will just let you. You will have only yourself to blame. If you wish your family to pitch in and help you, then ask them to do so. Unless you ask, no one is going to know you need help. You cannot read another’s mind, so also no one can read yours.
And when you are performing certain chores, unless you do it willingly, you will feel frustrated. All those chores that you wish to do, you can take on, and you will not miss an appreciation. Though one would not be rejected either! But when there are more chores and you do not relish doing them, you can always delegate and request for help, instead of feeling like a victim. Feeling like a victim will only make you frustrated, you will take it out in an unpleasant manner, elsewhere. There will be conflicts, which can be avoided if you communicate your needs clearly.
Some parents complain it is difficult to get the children to throw the garbage. One mother said, “I do everything for them, and they cannot do this small chore”. Here you have to understand no amount of screaming will help. The rule has to be laid and followed firmly. Only then you can get the whole family to pitch in. You can explain how you are doing your share because you love the family, so they too can pitch in willingly. And when things are done out of love, it no longer becomes a chore.
You must also be willing to appreciate all those who have been helping you. There can be people in your life who always go the extra mile to do something for you. It could be your spouse, aunt, parents, friend, etc. Take a moment to recall all their help and appreciate it. Tell them how much you love their support, how important it is for you and how you appreciate all they have done and are doing. You need not give any expensive gift to show your appreciation, just a few heartfelt words, a thank you note, a call or even a hug will do wonders.
Do not allow yourself to be walked over. Let people know when they are crossing boundaries. Unless you love the role of a victim, you need not pile work on yourself. You need not take on another’s share of work. You can help whenever needed, but you must make sure it is a genuine need of help. And you must learn to appreciate and value all those who have been there for you. Let your appreciation be genuine, and see the happiness that spreads on their faces.
Do not have the attitude your parents, family, spouse, friend or children are duty bound to extend their help. Then this will be expected of you too. It works both ways.
Be happy with yourself and spread the happiness around. Life is beautiful.