•Editor’s Note: Wynne Go is a trained life coach. For this advice column, Wynne’s advocacy is to help people in need realize their full potential and have a more balanced and happier life. If you have any personal issues and need counseling, feel free to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I rarely disclose my problems to people. But the past few weeks, I think I’ve been going through a lot of stress and sometimes I think too much.
I think this is one of the best opportunities to vent out some problems. I have two concerns. One is work-related while the other has something to do with what my intrapersonal situation. The former contributes to the latter.
The past few weeks were hard. Things are vague and I am not sure where I am heading. It seems that everyday I feel the extremes. One day I am happy then one day I am sad. It’s because there are times that I feel like an outcast. I feel unappreciated at work. Things are so inconsistent. I don’t know if I am just being too idealistic or what.
I don’t care about the monetary terms nor how heavy the work load is. All I wanted is to be appreciated because it is when people appreciate me, I am certain about my worth. I see myself as someone who can prove something and can do better.
I don’t know if I am just being too demanding but a simple thank you, a simple acknowledgment or a simple appraisal can eradicate all the negative feelings I have right now. I know this is what I really love but how will I continuously love what I’m doing if people around me can’t see my worth? I hope people would know my value. I hope they’d think and realize that I’m an asset, not a liability.
You know what is the one thing that I am so afraid about? To lose my passion and enthusiasm. I don’t want the day to come that I will just drag myself to work. I am not the type of person who gives up easily but if things will continue to be this way, I’m afraid I might just walk away and let go of what I love to do.
Please help me enlighten my mind. It’s in a blur right now. Thank you.
I understand the need to be appreciated. However, from what I hear from you, it seems like, “I am not happy because THEY do not show appreciation.” What should not happen, and we owe it to ourselves, is to depend our feeling of self-worth from others: “I will quit if they continue to be unappreciative.” Every choice has its price and benefit, if you quit, who really loses more? Who loses the chance to grow in a field that she loves? Is it those around you? We create our own destiny. Yes, there is an element of fate, but it depends on what we do with the opportunity given to us.
List down all your achievements in life, is that a picture of someone who is unimportant?
The feelings we have inside are usually created by us. It is a matter of choosing what to believe about yourself.
Do you really believe you’re unimportant? More importantly, did anybody tell you you’re not worthy or is it just an interpretation of how others are towards you? All of these usually come from our interpretation and expectations of how others should be towards us. The truth is, no two persons are alike and we have different ways of expression.
Let’s try to shift your perspective, whenever your bosses do not mind you, the interpretation is, I am unimportant? What if you are not minded because you are actually doing a good job , meets his expectations and feels you do not need guidance except it is not expressed? So, always examine if whatever you’re feeling was simply created by your interpretation but not the truth.
People will not always express their appreciation (just as you probably don’t, too) but we can always choose to believe that of ourselves. And so my hope is, you see your worth without depending it on others.
Another choice you can make is to also express what you’re feeling inside, especially if it persists and words of wisdom are not enough. Because you are the one carrying the consequence of the choice to keep things to yourself.
People will not know what you’re going through unless they are told. We have what we call the “I message” where you begin the statement with the behavior you liked or didn’t like, then emotions caused by the behavior, and what they result could be if the person continues the behavior. But always speak in the first-person tone.
An example is, “Sir, I am very grateful that you placed me in this position. However, I noticed that I was never given feedback or guidance. Therefore, I feel lost and do not belong. If this continues, I’m afraid I will lose my passion.” Trust in the goodness of people that they will only want what is best for you.
But again, when we express, there should be no expectation of the answer that we want to hear. What is important is the simple objective exercise of release. Otherwise, you carry the consequence of choosing not to speak up.
Actually, more than spending all your thoughts, energy, and creating negative feelings on how others are towards you, the most important character in this story is YOU.
I would be more concerned about you, confirming within yourself if this is truly the path that you want. That it is your heart’s true choice. Where do you see yourself 20 years from now? Is what you’re doing now aligned and are the steps towards that goal?
If it is, and you believe you landed in the right industry, then claim your space and power. Believe that in life, there is no coincidence. That you were placed in that organization because you have a lot to offer—just be patient because we all have to start somewhere. But, of course, we will only get to where we want to be if we express and do something about it. No one is replaceable. We all have our unique strengths—the same way that even blue-collared workers are as equally important as white-collared ones because no one can do it better than they do and vice versa.
Each of us has our own God-given gifts. Only society dictated the standards of what is good but it isn’t necessarily true. And so, there is no point in always trying to prove yourself (this is different from wanting to better ourselves). Try to live a life of just being yourself and doing things wholeheartedly, not even expecting anything in return, everything else follows because you become the product. Focus on what you have than what’s not there.
Also, are you a fresh grad? This is part of the realities outside the comforts of school and friends—that we will have to fend for ourselves more and it’s a sink or swim game of life and always based on results and output. But at the end of the day, what is important is you pat yourself on the back.
Worthiness issues are deeply rooted, I invite you to create a timeline of your life and highlight major events from the time you were born until now—for the lows, see if there are people in your life that you need to forgive (because they too just like you and me , make mistakes and just did the best they could), and for the highlights, smile and celebrate them.
Every person and situation we encounter teaches us something, reflect on what all these experiences may be teaching you , as life is a painful sharpening to perfection, and so, it’s okay to make mistakes and use the experience to better yourself.
Again, we create our own feelings, too, and so always choose the more loving thoughts about yourself. Every morning when you wake up, just tell yourself, “I am beautiful.”