You do not have to be a feminist to agree that women are often under-appreciated. Sometimes we women vent out to our friends and family for a temporary relief from the ignorance. One of the “vent outs” that I have noticed to be very common among my near ones in the last 8-9 years is not receiving enough compliments, especially from their partners. I have listened attentively but did not say much because it was understandable that I was expected to be a good listener even when I had thoughts to share. Consider me as that friend or family you shared your sorrows of not being appreciated, who has a few words to say if you are in a good mood now.
1. Communicate effectively with your partner. If repeating the same complain of not being appreciated for the last few(5-10) years did not change anything, maybe it’s time you change the strategy. Do something that would bring actual results if possible. Find a moment of peace when you both are relaxed and you both can discuss why and how to appreciate. Discuss the consequences you might find yourselves in long term.
2. Reduce negativity and express gratitude. If you always keep discussing with your partner how negative the world is and how awful everyone around you is, maybe you are encouraging him to focus on negativity and ignore the praiseworthy characters in others as well as in yourself. Rather, express gratitude. Start with how often do you say thank you for the little things he does like changing the lightbulb or bringing milk on the way back home. Consider how often do you pay genuine compliments (not the vague ones on autopilot) to make him feel noticed and unique. Maybe you can try to lead by example and encourage him to reciprocate.
3.Stop comparing. You do not live someone else’s life or have her past, present and future. Your partner, on the other hand, might not want to be a copycat of your father, brother, neighbour, ex or whoever you want him to be like. When you repeatedly compare, it makes you look jealous and makes others uncomfortable or proud for apparently no good reason and it also fails to deliver you any result. It probably is making you look like someone who cannot stand anyone better or better complimented and needs narcissistic supply from her partner. Remember the famous quote “mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all”? I am not suggesting you are a narcissist or sociopath but if you think you are, consider getting professional help and spare me your rage. No offence.
4. Stop seeking reassurance. You do not need someone’s reassurance to have any impact on your self-esteem or feel trapped into constantly needing others to validate. Be self-assured with your own judgements. I suppose you are capable of judging yourself compassionately. If you cannot self-respect and reflect compassionately, try to develop it.
5. Share the chores. You do not have to be a superwoman or babysit everyone. Let your family members act responsibly and share the burden of unrewarding chores that require time, energy and effort but remain unrecognised until they are not done. I know it’s easier said than done especially if you live with either proper slobs or someone who expects you to be their slave. However, you never know if asking is the answer to your problems until you ask to share the burdens.
6. Accept compliments. Some people just cannot accept compliments with a simple thank you. I am not sure if they think they are not worth it or being nice to them appears to be part of someone’s twisted plan. I once complimented someone honestly and received snarky remark about my food choice. I had my lesson and I do not appreciate her as much. These sort of snarky reactions can work well in cliques of mean girls but seriously???
7. Accept him for who he is. If nothing changes your partner, consider accepting him for who he is and focus on the things you love about him. Lower your expectations. In fact, a sudden change of behaviour will probably make you suspicious of him having a midlife crisis or some other problems. Some men are just not good with words and have more subtle ways of expressing gratitude like a hug, a kind gesture or a thoughtful gift. If you cannot take any more misery in your marriage consider going to a marriage counsellor before straining your stale relationship to an extent where you both are unhappy and look forward to its end.
8. Change the world. Do an extensive research on underappreciated women and come out with an action plan to reduce the negative impact. I am sure patriarchy can take the blame for not enough recognising the efforts of women and I hope it to change with time. However, you will not have to deal with another ungrateful person at home if you start with teaching your children how to treat people with respect and express gratitude because children are more adept at learning new skills and developing characteristics. If yours is a rebellious teenager, just breathe in and out and wait for a few more years.
If most of the things I said do not resonate with me saying I understand this is unfair and needs changing, it is solely because I believe we humans do not have the power to control any other adults but ourselves. If you can influence others to change or improve, it’s because they wanted to. I am sharing my thoughts because sometimes you need a push to come out of your grudge and look at the problem from another perspective if you haven’t already, especially when you need patience because change is a slow process. I do go through rough patches at times like anyone else that makes me relate and try to develop such skills further. I assume I do not know you so please comment below if you can relate to it and how. Finally, please add a pinch of salt because I am not by any means your marriage counsellor or therapist.
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