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Feeling Unappreciated? Here’s How To Feel More Valued by Those Closest to You

Experts reveal how to overcome feeling taken advantage of in any relationship.


Whether it be in our personal or professional lives, we can all feel as though our contributions are overlooked from time to time. This typically leads to us to think we’re unappreciated and taken for granted by those closest to us. Although this notion is painful and hard to overcome, not all hope is lost. We asked experts to reveal simple strategies worth implementing in your everyday life to restore your sense of being valued. The best part: Their tips involve taking a moment to reflect and evaluate the ways in which you advocate for yourself on a daily basis. Keep reading to learn six ways you can feel more appreciated by your friends, family, and coworkers.

#1: Know your ‘why.’

According to relationship expert Janet Philbin, the roots of feeling underappreciated often stretch further back than we realize. “Ask yourself, ‘How old is this feeling?’” she suggests. “When you look back, you may realize this started when you were 6 years old, and you had to jump every time your mother asked you to do something.” Fast-forward to today, and you believe you always have to say “yes” when you don’t want to. “The first step is always understanding ourselves better so we can address how to move forward.”

Related: How to Be a Better Friend + Make New Ones: Experts Share 6 Ways to Boost Your Bonds

#2: Narrow your focus.

“When we feel taken for granted, we tend to say to ourselves, ‘People never listen to me,’ or, ‘No one respects me,’” Sydney Spears, PhD, says. If you find yourself generalizing, ask yourself if this is true or a distortion born from your anger. This will help you focus on the specific situation. “You might say to yourself, ‘I notice when X person is always late, it makes me feel like my time doesn’t matter,’” Dr. Spears adds. Narrowing your focus helps you see what’s truly bothering you.

#3: Take a breather.

Philbin says a lot of women who feel taken advantage of put others’ needs first without stopping to check in with themselves. Instead of answering right away, listen to your body’s signals, she advises. “If you suddenly feel your heart racing, that’s a cue to ask yourself what you need in the moment, so take a quick walk or step away,” she notes. A bit of distance curbs the impulse to say “yes,” so you can better determine what you need.

Related: How to Get Along With Your Adult Children: 6 Expert Tips That Will Boost Your Bond

#4: Note your worthiness.

“Make a list of ways you’ve earned respect from your friends, loved ones, co-workers, and community,” Margaret Rutherford, PhD, says. “For example, you love your family, you contribute to your house of worship, and so on.” Just reminding yourself how valued you are will build your confidence and make it easier for you to find your voice.

#5: Lead with ‘I’ statements.

Dr. Rutherford urges you to let people know how you want to be treated as specifically as possible with “I” statements. “I had a client who no longer wanted to cook dinner every night for her family, so she told them, ‘I love you, but the way I’ve been expressing that love is exhausting me — I’m going to pick a couple of nights a week to go out for a walk with a friend, and dinner will be up to you,’” she explains. Because she was specific, they respected what she needed.

#6: Let joy guide you forward.

Even after we learn to stand up for ourselves, it can be tempting to give in from time to time. “Saying ‘yes’ can make us feel indispensable, but that ‘high’ is temporary, and we soon start resenting people again,” Philbin notes. To help you stay the course over the long-term, she suggests pinpointing healthier ways to feel valued. “What brings you joy? Whether you volunteer or discover a new passion, the more you honor who you are, the more assertive you’ll continue to be,” she adds.

Meet Our Expert Panel

  • Janet Philbin, author of Show Up for Yourself, is a clinical social worker who has spent 23 years helping people recover from their emotional wounds.
  • Sydney Spears, PhD, author of Finding Self-Compassion, is a psychotherapist focusing on chronic stress, trauma, and social-cultural identity issues.
  • Margaret Rutherford, PhD, is the author of Perfectly Hidden Depression and host of the popular podcast The SelfWork Podcast.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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