“I feel transparent. People don’t even notice me when I’m at a party. They’re hogging all the attention. I feel bad—repulsive. Being loved and appreciated doesn’t seem to be true everyone. Other people get to be loved. Why not me? Nobody loves me. It must be because I’m too ugly, too shy, too introverted, too unfriendly… “
It is extremely easy to become trapped in this spiraled thinking. We yearn for the things which we feel everyone else has, and which we feel are given in a normal life:
We want to have a fulfilling social life—to make friends, to belong to a group, to create social relations rich in the most interesting encounters of each other.
We want to succeed professionally—make contacts, hold meetings, maintain discussions essential to building a network, to be known, to create opportunities and to just be successful.
We want to find love and be appreciated by others.
Most of all, we want to simply exist—to no longer feel transparent, to get out of solitude and to share our ideas.
Yet why can’t you seem to do it? What is it that other people have that allows them to seemingly accomplish these things with ease? Do they have it in their blood, some inherent part of their being? The reality is, everyone is susceptible to these thought process, and we have all experienced the feeling of feeling underappreciated at various point in our life.
While it is easy to become entrapped in a semblance of bitterness towards ourselves and those around us, it is also possible to escape this dangerous pit of judgment. At the end of the day, the idea of feeling unappreciated revolves around YOUR perceptions of how others speak towards and act around you. Here are seven tips to reorient your preconceived notions and truly open yourself up to be recognized by others:
Do What You Like
The first, and most fundamental step towards being appreciated and loved by others is to love yourself. It may seem surprising because you believe your goal is to make others love you. But, think for a moment. Do you think people will appreciate you if you do not love yourself? If you continuously repeat self-damaging thoughts to yourself that you are bad, ugly, or incapable, you will project your self-hatred and dislike onto the people around you. You will keep people away from you.
So, start by making a concentrated effort to love yourself. We become what we think about so try to be positive with yourself, single out your best qualities—you have them for sure!— and verbalize them to yourself. Cultivate them, develop them and do not hesitate to say that you love yourself by looking at yourself in the mirror. Define one thing you like about yourself every day. While it might feel false at first, keeping up a regular regiment of self-affirmation will go a long ways towards helping you love and appreciate yourself.
Adopt the Right Attitude
Your general behavior needs to change— give to others what you would like in return. While you might feel as if you are often generous in your thoughts and actions, your resentment over the lack of reciprocation often manifests itself in your composure.
Smile more! Enjoy the little things in life! Certainly, you are more attracted to people who smile, and nothing merits a smile more than another smile. Adopt good body language by looking someone in the eyes when you talk to them (if that is incredibly difficult for you, you can instead focus between the eyebrows), and do not excessively look away. Relax and maintain an open body posture: try not to cross your arms, clench your fists, clap your feet or let out any particularly large sighs. While you don’t have to be particularly fashion-forward in order to be appreciated by others, making an effort to look presentable in a working or similarly formal environment can make you more approachable to others.
Do your best to be optimistic and positive. You shouldn’t come off as inauthentic, but if you complain all the time and only discuss negative things, people eventually want to stop hanging around your negative energy; you will become a toxic person. Be enthusiastic and dynamic, and feel free to tell people the happy moments of your life, without bragging of course.
Happiness is contagious! Be passionate about your successes in life, and others will be more prone to being appreciative of your successes as well. Being humorous is always appreciated by others, but remember to tread carefully and not over-do it; too many jokes (particularly those at the expense of others) will make those around feel as if you are being rude,. In the worst case scenario, they will be put off by you, thinking you are trying too hard to get them to like you.
Take an Interest in Others
People’s favorite conservation topic is THEM. If you monopolize the speech in a conversation and speak only of yourself, the others will begin to resent conversations with you and, eventually, stop engaging in them altogether. You might be doing this without even realizing it, so in your next conversation, tune in to what you’re talking about and why. Make a mental note of how many times your reference yourself in a conversation.
Show that you enjoy listening to the person you are talking to at the moment and that you are genuinely interested in them. Ask about their work, their passions, their hobbies or their families; let them talk about themselves. Remember the name and first name of the people you meet, they will be pleasantly surprised the next time you see them. Before getting down to business, ask people how they are doing, and look for common points so that you can have an interesting and fruitful exchange.
The golden rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated,” rings true here— by giving them a sense importance and appreciation, they will then reciprocate these feelings to you! However, it is important to be sincere in your curiosity and not to pretend. If you are not genuinely interested in this person, think critically about why you are invested in building a relationship with them, and why you care about their opinion of you.
Give in Order to Receive
An exchange is only fair from the moment you offer something yourself. Perhaps they will do it unconsciously, but more likely than not, no one will give you something if you do not give them anything in return. Expecting other to constantly recognize you for your actions without ever praising them for what they’ve done will simply leave you continually feeling unappreciated. If you would like others to help and acknowledge you, do the same for them; bring them solutions to a problem they are facing or give them tips to improve their performance (ONLY after being asked for advice—otherwise it comes off arrogant, despite your intentions).
Learn to Ask
Setting aside your pride can be difficult, especially when it comes to asking for help. However, asking someone when you need assistance not only helps you in completing your task in the most efficient and effective way possible but gives the person helping you a sense of respect and self-worth in being able to assist. Of course, you have to do it tactfully.
Do not demand that someone give you this or that. Explain to this person why you need help, and why they, in particular, are best suited to help you. You will see, that often they will gladly accept, an even be generous in lending a hand. Once again, you will have given them the importance of feeling needed, and they will be proud of themselves— which they will express in their appreciation of you!
Think about how you feel when others judge you, and when you feel unappreciated. Would you want to cause that feeling in someone else? Don’t condemn someone for not acting the same way or for not believing the same things you do. Reserve sudden judgment and generalizations after meeting people. You know, deep within yourself, that you are a good person, regardless of what it seems others think of you. Keep an open mind towards others, and consider that everyone feels the same way about themselves, and you have no way of knowing a person’s past or private life without them telling you.
Respect the opinions of others even if they differ from yours. Do not impose your ideas directly. If your solution seems the best, bring evidence to offer them a new perspective, but remember if you forcefully try to change their minds they will retreat and become defensive. If you can, even try to give them the impression that the solution you’re offering comes from them.
Admit that you can be wrong. If you made a mistake, say it (humorously or not) and take responsibility; you will be more respected that way. Feel free to make concessions: some do not cost much and will bring you a lot! Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is NOT to be right, but rather to build meaningful relationships with those around you.
Accept that mistakes can be made, and if the mistake is not that bad, don’t target the culprit directly to give orders or shout. This will make the person you’re talking to feel inferior or incapable, which will eventually cause them to resent you. Just show that the error can be easily repaired. Ask them questions such as: “Would not you like to go and get this file? You would be a great help to me! ”
Do more “friendly flirting” by making honest and sincere compliments. Of course, it is not a question of flattering the other person all the time—if you are not honest and natural it will come across forced and ingenuine. Do not hesitate to congratulate and encourage them if you notice something you appreciate. Depending on the circumstances, avoid being too direct in order not to give mixed signals; There are nuances between friendly flirting and sexual flirting. If you go too far with giving compliments, you will no longer be considered as a friend or someone fun to be around, but as a player or someone too eager to please.
Overall, opening yourself up to others will give them permission to open up to you, and will ultimately allow you NOT to feel unappreciated. The last tip that summarizes everything: Be yourself! Don’t overdo any of the above suggestions, and remember to be humble in genuine in your actions.