What do you do when you feel taken for granted in your relationships? Taken for granted or feeling undermined can be extremely frustrating and demotivating, especially, in work or personal life. When your efforts go unnoticed, or ignored, you feel small, disrespected or undervalued. A lot of times, this leads to stress and desperation.
There are many such situations we come across in life where people take us for granted, be it our friends, colleagues at work or loved ones. This is one of the most common interpersonal issue that arises when people overstep our personal boundaries. But what can be done if you find that in spite of all your efforts, you are still used and devalued? How can you highlight your achievements? Are others really unappreciative of your efforts? Or Is it also because of you that your efforts are being overlooked?
Are you letting others to take you for granted?
Mostly, the reasons for this can be originating from some of your own actions like overcommitting, or lack of assertiveness when communicating with others. Wrong perception of your self-worth can be another reason.
If you have grown up believing that your self-worth comes from giving importance to others, then in a way, it might make you crave for recognition/praise from others. And this might also get you into the habit of self-sacrifice or manipulating others to feel better about yourself.
If you are a person who believes that your worth only comes from external validation, then you might feel undervalued without that recognition. When you believe that your worth isn’t intrinsic to who you are, you might be okay by being taken for granted by others. Here are some signs that you might be letting others take you for granted.
• Failure to speak up when you are treated badly.
• You feel responsible for others’ unhappiness.
• Agreeing with a person when you actually feel like disagreeing.
• Saying ‘yes’ to something when you want to say ‘no’.
• You feel guilty dedicating time for yourself.
• Feeling like you have to earn respect by pleasing or being nice to others.
• Constantly trying to fix others’ problems.
• Giving away too much of your time and are not focused on your needs.
Are others taking you for granted?
Sometimes, others take credit for what you do. Such behaviors communicate a sense of entitlement from the person that’s benefiting from the relationship. When others are unwilling to balance favors or reciprocate, and don’t acknowledge or appreciate the help given, it is an indicator that they do not take your feelings into account. This happens in unbalanced personal relationships where each one tries to use the other.
Stress and self-doubt creep in when others operate from such sense of entitlement. Operating from a place of expectation results in feeling of discontent and neglect. Similarly, if people in work environment are not demonstrating appreciation, it undermines strength of your commitment.
So, how can you tell if you are being taken for granted by others?
• You don’t receive your due credit or someone else takes credit for what you do.
• Exclusion from opportunities or you don’t get paid fairly.
• You don’t have access to enough resources or opportunities for growth.
• Your ideas are not heard or appreciated.
• If your superiors aren’t able to deliver common courtesies or take time to say “well done.”
• You aren’t trusted to do your job or being micromanaged all the time.
How taken for granted affects your productivity
“Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up.”Tweet
We all have a basic human need to be appreciated for our effort. Genuine appreciation or valuing our efforts makes us feel safe and frees us to do our best work. On the contrary, when our value feels at risk either in the form of taken for granted or is left overlooked, it leads us on a downward spiral of negativity and low morale. Even from a personal relationship perspective, feeling that your generosity and affection are frequently taken for granted, leaves you feeling empty and depressed.
Similarly, in a work environment, if your contributions are overlooked or when your values are undermined, it affects your motivation and productivity. And even if you are productive, frequently taken for granted keeps you stuck in toxic cycle of doing things for approval, praise and recognition. Constantly struggling to prove yourself impacts your future productivity and causes physical harm in the form of stress and anxiety.
How to stop letting others take you for granted
We all stay in relationships either personal or professional, that aren’t perfect for a lot of reasons. However, there are really no quick fixes to stop being taken for granted. Since you can’t control others’ behaviours towards you, here are some steps you can take so you don’t let others take you for granted.
Know your inner worth
It is important to remind yourself that if you don’t value yourself first, you can’t expect others to value you. When your sense of self-worth gets defined by someone else’s feelings, you will be on a downward spiral. The number of likes you get should not determine the value of work you do. Focus on positive feedback to increase your ability to intrinsically motivate yourself rather than waiting for outside validation. Be confident in the things you do, not because you do them well, but because you express who you are, your values and what you believe in.
Set clear personal boundaries
Without strong personal boundaries, you run the risk of confusing your needs and wants with others’. Such instances lead to toxic one-sided relationship. When you fail to prioritise your needs, you might not be assertive enough in what you say ‘yes’ and what you say ‘no’ to.
If you feel that you are always giving in your relationships, and that your efforts are being overlooked, it might be time to create fresh boundaries to clearly distinguish who you are and what you need from others. Let go of toxic friendships and relationships where you feel the others are not reciprocating, controlling and are not respecting your boundaries. When you start to respect your feelings and needs, others will notice and follow suit.
Communicate your needs
Many times, others in the relationship or in your workplace might not be even aware that they were neglecting to appreciate you. So, if you think you deserve the due recognition for your hard work, clearly communicate.
Sometimes in a personal relationship, you may not feel equal when there is selfishness in the equation as it leaves you resentful and feel used. Learn to say “no” sometimes. Before you respond, ask yourself, ’will I feel resentful about this later if I say ‘yes’? if the answer is ‘yes’, then it is better to communicate it to the other person.
In workplaces, clearly communicating and making them aware of your contributions may lead to due recognition. Communicating with the person involved and indicating that there are times that you don’t feel your work is noticed may prove to be more productive.
Sometimes, it is very important to promote yourself and you should make your voice heard and your achievements seen in order not to be taken for granted. Give your opinions and take credit for your ideas and achievements.
If you manage a team, it is important to talk about what your team does, and what their goals and achievements are, and ways they are striving to do better. Be vocal about sharing the credit. You don’t need to resort to undercut or one-up your colleague in order to make yourself get appreciated.
Draw attention to your or team’s day-to-day effort. Look for ways to make your work more visible. If you are feeling undervalued at work, then others in your team may be feeling the same way. Lead by example by being the person who recognizes others’ efforts.
While being appreciated and valued for your work is good thing, but you can’t derive your motivation only from praise and gratitude. Intrinsic motivators are much more powerful. You can be intrinsically motivated when you find meaning in the work you do or driven by passion and not because of external validation.
Take some time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go well and look for answers to the question, “Why am I being taken for granted?” Don’t dwell too much on your deficiencies, but more on your strengths and achievements.
Check out your perception of reality and what you perceive as their lack of appreciation. What problems are you solving? What makes you different or unique? What would the people you work with say is the value of your presence? Being able to answer these questions will help you realise your own value.
Be realistic of your efforts
When feeling undervalued at work, ask yourself whether you are being realistic about the amount of feedback and appreciation you expect from your superiors, coworkers, peers or others. Sometimes it is the busyness of people that might not be getting you as much feedback you want.
Being recognised for the work you do and the goals you achieve is always a part of job satisfaction from a professional point of view. But this doesn’t mean your coworkers or superiors should praise you for doing the bare minimum. You have to earn your stripe. Accept the role you play in feeling unappreciated and be willing to change. Evaluate whether you are reading too much into someone else’s lack of gratitude or is it just that you are responding to a perceived lack of appreciation.
Consider the alternatives
Sometimes, it might be possible that you are being taken for granted due to toxic work culture. In such situations, it might be appropriate to ask yourself as to whether it’s really worth continuing. May be it is a sign that it’s not the right place for you to be, whether it is personal or professional in nature. Consider asking yourself, Is it worth staying where you won’t be appreciated or recognized for your efforts? Or can you self-motivate and continue? or is it time to move on for the sake of your well-being and self-respect?
In which areas of your life, do you feel you are being taken for granted?
How good are you at communicating your needs to others in a relationship?
Are you a people pleaser, and have difficulty in saying ‘no’?
To objectively assess your value to the organisation, consider asking yourself,
Are you considered for brand new opportunities, or excluded quite often?
Does your workplace appreciates your efforts? Or Do you feel your work goes unrecognized and your ideas often neglected?
Are you doing quality work that matters to the functioning of the place? What could you be doing more?
Taking for granted is never an option in any kind of relationship. Reflect on the above strategies to identify whether you are letting others do so. And it is always a good time to have a good hard think about whether to continue to be that way.
If you think you deserve better, may be its time to reconsider your job/ personal or professional relationships. However, while there are ways you can position yourself to help assure you will earn recognition from others, if you expect credit for everything you do, you will no doubt find yourself disappointed. Know when to let it go and when to hold on to by objectively assessing your own worth.
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