How to stop being taken for granted

What do you do when a person’s behavior makes you feel taken for granted, controlled or undervalued in a personal or professional relationship? Feeling undervalued can be extremely frustrating and demotivating, especially in workplaces when you want your efforts to be recognized and rewarded. When your efforts go unnoticed, ignored and unappreciated, you feel small, disrespected or undervalued. This can lead to desperation and stress that makes you feel helpless. There are many such situations we come across in life where people take us for granted whether it is with your partner, friends, colleagues at work or relationships with other 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? Who should you talk to about feeling unappreciated? Or Is it also because of you that your efforts are being overlooked?

Are you letting others to take you for granted?

Sometimes the reasons for this can be originating from some of your own actions like overcommitting, or lack of assertiveness or proper communication. Wrong perception of your self-worth can also be the reason of being undervalued. If you have grown up believing that your self-worth comes from always giving to others, in a way, you crave recognition and praise from others and might get into a habit of self-sacrificing or manipulating others to feel better about yourself. And if you believe that your worth only comes from external validation and is not intrinsic to who you are, you might feel undervalued without that recognition. When you believe that you aren’t worthy, you might be okay by being taken for granted by others rather than receiving your due recognition for your efforts. Here are some signs that you are letting others take you for granted.

• Failure to speak up when you are treated badly.

• Giving away too much of your time or over-committing.

• You agree with a person when you actually feel like disagreeing.

• You say ‘yes’ to a person when you want to say ‘no’

• You feel guilty dedicating time for yourself.

• You make too many grand sacrifices for others at your own expense.

• You constantly feel like the victim.

• You feel like you have to earn respect by being nice to others or you are a people-pleaser.

• You feel responsible for others’ unhappiness.

• You are not focused on your needs.

• You attract people who try to control or dominate you.

However, even if you open up and are still met with indifference or coercion, you can be sure that the person doesn’t really care about you and is taking you for granted.

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 or when no thanks are given if you help or do something for someone is an indicator that they do not take your feelings into account. An unbalanced personal relationship can lead to make you feel unworthy. Stress and self-doubt creep in when others operate from such sense of entitlement and from lack of empathy. Similarly, if people in work environment are not demonstrating appreciation, it undermines your strength of your commitment. So, how can you tell if you are being taken for granted at work?

• 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.

• If people aren’t able to deliver common courtesies or take time to say “well done.”

• Your ideas are not heard or appreciated.

• You don’t have access to enough resources or opportunities for growth.

• You don’t receive valuable feedback.

• You aren’t trusted to do your job or being micromanaged all the time.

How being undervalued affects your productivity
“Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up.” 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 your value feels at risk either in the form of taken for granted or unappreciated or undervalued, worry becomes preoccupying which drains your energy leading to negativity and low morale. So, I’m 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, you are probably not going to be considered for promotions or opportunities to advance professionally in future. This makes you get stuck in toxic cycle of lack of appreciation where you constantly struggle to prove yourself and creates friction in the workplace.

How to stop being taken for granted

Constant undervaluing of your quality work impacts your future productivity and causes physical harm in the form of stress and anxiety. So, it has to be dealt effectively and you can do so by identifying where you need to reflect on how to identify if you are feeling undervalued in the first place. there are really no quick fixes for this problem. You will need to take active steps that will create a solid platform for your personality and image to take control of yourself. Here are steps that you can take and learn how to stop being taken for granted.

Know your inner worth.

The only way to stop being taken for granted is to realise your self-worth. When your sense of self-worth gets defined by someone else’s feelings, you will be on a downward spiral. The measure of gratitude shown by someone else should not determine the value of what you do. The work you do must have intrinsic value based on who you are, about your values and what you believe in. 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 by doing so. It is important to remember that if we don’t value ourselves first, we can’t expect others to value us.

Set clear personal boundaries

Without strong personal boundaries, you run the risk of confusing your needs and wants with others which leads to toxic one-sided relationship. When you fail to clearly express your needs to others, they become unaware that they are taking you for granted. Voice your needs to make them clear of your personal boundaries and where they are undervaluing your work. If you feel that you are always giving and your efforts are being taken for granted, it might be time to create fresh boundaries to clearly distinguish who you are and what you need from others. Understand that you are not less valuable or worthy than others. Your needs are equally important. Practice assertiveness and learn to say no to non-essential things. Don’t try to please others and let go of the habit of committing to everything and everyone. Let go of toxic friendships and relationships if you feel you are being controlled, manipulated or undervalued and make sure people understand and see what you do. Respect your feelings and needs. When you start to respect yourself, others will notice and follow suit.

Communicate your needs.

Engage in a conversation on your performance with the person related when you notice you are being taken for granted. Instead of saying ‘I want more appreciation,’ you can talk about where your strengths lie and where you need to improve. 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. If your ideas are not well received, ask how you could improve. 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. Sometimes in a personal relationship, you may not feel equal when there is a selfishness in the equation as it leaves you resentful and feel used. If it is a friendly relationship, it may be worthwhile to have conversation and share your feelings.

In workplaces, clearly communicating about how you are feeling undervalued and making them aware of your contributions may help them know how to meet your needs. Communicate with the person involved and indicate that there are times that you don’t feel your work is noticed and ask for proper feedback on your performance by mentioning that you are looking for ways to improve. Update others regularly on the projects you are working on or any new tasks you are tackling.

Master self-promotion.

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. Help others by sharing your expertise. 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. Share positive feedback you receive from others to show that you are valued by others and therefore should be valued by them. If you manage a team, it is important to talk about what your team does, what its goals and achievements are and ways you are striving to do better. Draw attention to your or team’s day-to-day effort. Look for ways to make your work more visible.

Appreciate and Praise others’ contributions. The easiest way to get appreciated is to give it, yet very few do it. Whenever you are collaborating, 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. Share your useful experience to collaborate, be inclusive and give credit to those who are involved in accomplishing a particular task. Offering compliments also improves the performance of your coworkers.

Practice self-reflection.

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 are you responding to a perceived lack of appreciation. Seek a second opinion on whether the amount of appreciation you expect from colleagues, team members or superiors is realistic.

Consider the alternatives.

It may be possible that even after you have tried to make improvements or inspite of all your efforts, you might continue to feel undervalued. This may be due to toxic work culture or people around. It may be time to ask yourself as to whether it’s worth continuing. It might be a sign that it’s not the right place for you to be no matter whether it is personal or professional in nature and time for you to move on. There is no point staying in a place that does not recognize your effort, there may be other places out there who are looking for someone with your skills and experience and who will give you the credit you deserve. 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?

To conclude,

We all stay in relationships either personal or professional, that aren’t perfect for a lot of reasons. If you are being taken for granted in any of your personal relationships, look at how you treat yourself on a daily basis. What areas of your life are you taking for granted? Are you taking your physical or emotional health for granted? When was the last time you thought about what is important to you? Tell yourself that being taken for granted is not an option anymore.

Does your workplace appreciates your efforts or are they toxic? Do you feel undervalued at work or not valued at all? Do you feel your work goes unrecognized and your ideas often neglected? Are you often considered for new opportunities or excluded?

If your work is truly not valued at your workplace, seek to objectively assess your value to the organization. Are you doing quality work that matters to the functioning of the place? Are you doing it well? What could you be doing to make more of an impact? Are you people pleasing and have difficulty in saying no? Are you collaborative and supportive of your team or coworkers? Look for areas where you think you have some expertise to offer and share your useful experiences to add value.

Reflect on the above strategies to identify where the problem lies and have a good hard think about whether it’s the right place for you. If you think you deserve better, may be its time to reconsider your job or personal or professional relationship. 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 save your credit-earning strengths for important tasks.

If you liked reading this post, here are some related posts for further reading:

https://sscascades.org/2019/03/22/845/

https://sscascades.org/2019/07/22/how-assertive-are-you/

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How To Take Personal Responsibility

When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”

Life is always full of choices and what you make of them and how you interpret your life events ultimately determines your experience. You can either approach your life with an attitude of responsibility or with an attitude of excuse. If you are always waiting for right time or set of circumstances that make it possible to do something, you will be forever postponing your happiness waiting for the ‘ if only’ and allow yourself impacted by forces that are external to you.

When you believe that regardless of what you do, external forces will dictate your future, it can be quite disempowering and keeps you stuck in self-destructive cycle of victimhood. People who operate from this mindset generally buy into ideas such as ‘I am a victim’, ‘I am entitled to things’ or ‘my past pretty much reflects my future’ and so on. This keeps them in a state of powerlessness relative to themselves and their life. From the state of victim hood, one cannot make the required effort to overcome their unfavourable circumstances. When you fail to take the responsibility for the part you are playing in the outcomes you are getting, you cannot seek and create opportunities that are right for your success.

On the contrary, When you take responsibility for the part you play in your outcomes, you get to choose how you respond to people, situations, circumstances, and things in your life. Taking personal responsibility can be quite self-empowering where you can take the action and risks that you need in order to ensure that you achieve the results you desire. Then the future will be what you make of it and you can be in control of your life experiences. So, if you want to view your life events or future situations in positive light and in terms of seeking and creating opportunities, you should develop the ability to take personal responsibility for your actions, decisions, choices, habits and thoughts.

With responsibility comes the willingness to work hard and to make a genuine effort to improve yourself by learning from your mistakes, failures and rejections. This state of empowerment builds your capability for facing and owning potential consequences of any choice you make.

What it means to take personal responsibility?

Responsibility is combination of words ‘response’ and ‘ability’ or in other words, your ability to respond to your environment. Truly accepting responsibility means not falling prey to victim mentality, not succumbing to your fears or insecurities and not falling into the trap of regretting past choices, decisions or actions. This means breaking free from anything that holds you back or that which makes you feel mentally or emotionally powerless. Recognising that the outcome of your life is a product of your decisions is what accepting personal responsibility all about. The choice you make either moves you closer to your desired outcomes and experiences or holds you back. Being responsible is to be accountable for the choices you make so that you can choose to create or seek solutions and create new opportunities for your personal or professional goals instead of blaming others or situations, complaining, and making excuses.

The real meaning of taking responsibility is to take ownership of your behaviour, choices, actions or decisions and their consequences. And also for your poor choices, mistakes or failures. It also involves moving beyond yourself and taking action to help people or situations around you that call for assistance. Not facing consequences for your wrong action or shifting blame to someone or something else for your misdeeds may sometimes work to your advantage but only in the short-term. This poor choice will eventually catch up with you and might cause you more damage down the road than stepping up to the situation. Responsibility is more to do with how effectively you can manage yourself when the opportunity to make a choice presents itself.

Responsibility breeds Empowerment

Many people have the desire to show off their successes but pass the buck when something is bound to fail. Failing to accept responsibility not only lowers your self-esteem and self-worth but also makes you view your life as having little or no value. On the contrary, responsibility breeds empowerment and boosts your personal or professional performance. By accepting responsibility and your role in problems, you can focus more on problem-solving, you can get more work done and gain power to initiate change. You develop the ability to create and respond instead of passively reacting to it.

With personal responsibility, you can own your life’s choices and decisions no matter how flawed or imperfect they may be. Owning your imperfections, flaws or mistakes leaves lot of room for self-improvement and gives space for plenty of opportunities to grow and develop. Whereas irresponsibility keeps you stuck in the patterns of self-victimisation. When you become accountable for your thoughts, feelings, habits and well-being, you can choose to make changes towards reaching your highest potential. Taking responsibility is empowering because it encourages solution-based thinking that can lead to creative ideas to help you solve your problems more effectively.

Personal responsibility also has to do with your daily habits, those you keep, the ones you break and those you build by choice and decisive action. When you begin to see the bigger picture of your actions and their consequences, you can change your habits or daily routines and create more helpful habits in order to decrease stress, increase productivity, or better time-management and increased job satisfaction. And builds trust with people.

Why Do We Deny Responsibility?

Taking personal responsibility of our life and circumstances gives us personal power to achieve our goals, but it is not always pleasant to shoulder it when those circumstances are unfavourable or completely out of our control. Personal responsibility brings up thoughts associated with work and commitment of some sort that drives many to avoid whenever possible. We all like to live without limiting our personal choices. Often when those choices are limited or when things don’t quite go as we had expected, we complain, blame everything and everyone, try to make excuses and shun responsibility to our own detriment. Also the other reasons being

• Lack of self-awareness or being disconnected from our deepest wants, goals, values or needs.

• Low self-esteem or belief that we aren’t really important or of value.

• Mistaken beliefs absorbed through our social, cultural or personal environments.

• Dependency on others’ judgment and assessment of things.

• Unwillingness to learn from our mistakes, failures or weaknesses or to improve ourselves.

• Lack of courage and commitment to follow-through our goals and objectives.

• Inability to focus on solution-based way of thinking or on creating opportunities to move forward with our goals.

• Approaching the problems from a source of weakness or victim mindset.

How to take Personal Responsibility

Learning to take responsibility is the key to self-management and self-growth. It represents your ability to make changes and choices about your work, health and well-being in a positive manner. Personal responsibility is also important in how we react to stress or certain lifestyle choices we make that trigger stress. Here are some ways to become more accountable and responsible in your personal or professional endeavours.

Practice self-awareness

When you have greater self-awareness of the choices that can be made and the impact your choices or decisions can have on those around you, you will be able to create more personal responsibility. Gain clarity so you are well aware of the things you should be doing and how they should be done both in personal or your professional goals. If others’ expectations are unclear, it is better to communicate and seek feedback to avoid assumptions. Be aware of your fears and explore the possible causes of it. If you feel you were not successful at a task, reflect on what you could have done differently to create better outcome. Another way to develop personal responsibility is to ask questions that focus on your potential actions. For instance, you can ask yourself as to how you can get accustomed to change or to new ways of doing things? How can you get a particular task completed on time? How can you solve the problem? Lay out your goals and the necessary tasks that will help you solve the problem. This will help you in becoming more accountable and proactive in taking required action-steps to make the necessary improvements.

Set Personal Boundaries

Do not over-commit yourself or take on too much. Know that certain things are out of your control and you cannot do everything. Consider your workload before agreeing to another task or role. Ask yourself as to whether or not you will be able to accomplish additional work and do it to the best of your ability. It is hard to maintain personal responsibility when you take on more than you can handle even if you think that it could pay off on the end with a reward. Taking on more than you can handle not only distracts you from your core responsibilities but also leads to compromising your work performance.

Saying ‘no’ can help you in setting boundaries that are needed for you to be able to uphold your responsibilities and achieve your goals. And also commit to staying true to a set of values and run your decisions through them as a check for consistency before enacting the decision in order to stay accountable.

Be Honest With Yourself

It is often very difficult to accept your own fault when it comes negative outcomes or poor decisions. Being honest with yourself and others about your wants and needs creates clarity with those around you. Being honest also involves admitting to your mistakes and the consequences. Offer a genuine apology to those affected by your actions, choices or decisions. Do what you can to minimise the consequences for others and look for ways to make some amends for your actions. Take responsibility for your own behaviour and admit your failure-to-act when you should have done so. You will achieve more success when you are fully honest with yourself and those around you in your personal or professional environments.

Stop Procrastinating On Your Tasks

Slacking, hiding from work, doing unimportant tasks, or putting off breeds irresponsibility and creates a negative self-image. To develop personal responsibility, keep yourself organised by using whatever avenue works best for yourself instead of procrastinating your goals and responsibilities. Don’t put your personal and professional obligations until the last minute. By leaving little time for your important tasks, the final output will be always short of what you are really capable of as you’ve insufficient time to deliver quality results. Be aware of the root causes to your habit of procrastination and work towards ocercoming it.

Be Your authentic-self

While it’s easy to blame others and act helpless, it’s difficult to take risks and stand up for the things that you believe are right. Many of us take poor decisions or choices in order to appease our impulses when we are presented with choices. When you recognise that your choices led to negative consequences, you feel empowered knowing that you can make better choices moving forward instead of beating yourself up. To be responsible doesn’t mean doing things that someone else expects you to do. It means doing things that you believe what you think is right by trusting your own judgment and not rely on others to make those judgments for you. Be self-directed and motivated to stand up for the things that you believe are right and make choices from your true authentic-self.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and have the self-control to be responsible to what you commit. You also have to develop personal restraint to be able to say no to tasks that are beyond your scope of knowledge despite your eagerness to prove yourself. Recognise that you don’t know everything and know that you can reach out for help during times of uncertainty. Instead of blaming external factors, taking responsibility for yourself by advocating for your needs and owning the areas of your weaknesses can make you more focused on solutions rather than on problems.

Focus On Solution-Based Thinking

Acknowledge that you are fully responsible for the situation you are in irrespective of whether you played a large or small role in creating the circumstances that led to a particular problem. By openly acknowledging how your choices and decisions have led you to that very moment helps you to focus on solutions to overcome them. What did I do, or not do, which may have contributed to this problem? How are others affected by this problem or my choices or decisions? How am I affected by this situation? How did I contribute to the problem? How is this situation of my own making? Having taken the ownership of the situation you can figure out which part of the problem you were responsible or have control in solving. Identifying your role and owning it can help you to work around the problem and initiate the required changes to improve your situation and resolve the problem.

So, what does personal responsibility mean to you? How personally responsible are you? Do you hold yourself accountable for your choices and decisions? What comes to your mind regarding some of your own past mistakes? Do you consider yourself as a victim or a victor?What have you done recently to create opportunities to move forward with your dreams or goals? Is there someone on your mind who deserves an authentic apology? Do you take personal responsibility to make things happen? What’s getting in the way of you seeking or creating opportunities for yourself? What changes can you initiate today to become more personally responsible? If your words or thoughts are hindering your progress, what could you possibly choose to do?

Challenge yourself by asking yourself the above questions to find new ways to become more responsible in making progress.

To conclude,

To take responsibility for your life circumstances requires objective thinking, embracing difficult situations while acknowledging your failures and mistakes. It also requires seeing opportunities within every problem or circumstance you find yourself in. It also requires self-discipline and above all else making a commitment to continuous improvement. With practice, you will develop this new and empowering habit that will help you to make the most of every situation. Commit yourself to implementing positive changes, quit making excuses, blaming others or situations and let go of your complaining.

Be accountable, define goals, generate ideas, prioritise, plan, create more opportunities to make things happen. Take responsibility for your own actions whilst holding others accountable for theirs. Do not indulge in self-pity and start living your life with more intention and purpose.

“ In the long-run, our lives are shaped by ourselves and the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt