Monday, October 27, 2014

Appreciation Rant

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The full quote is, "The woman who serves unnoticed and un-thanked is a woman who loves God more than she desires the praise of others. She is confident that all her unnoticed deeds on earth are noticed in Heaven. She is satisfied knowing she has pleased her Lord."

A believing friend sent me this meme, expressing her frustration with this aspect of religion. It rather burns me, too.

Just yesterday I was doing something benign for Denny and he thanked me, quite sincerely. Then he paused thoughtfully and, with much emotion, expressed how sad it made him to think of all the years I and the "amazing" things I do went unappreciated. You know that good, achy, almost-want-to-cry, overwhelmed feeling that tingles in your chest sometimes? That. I do so love this man! It makes me sad sometimes to think of how long I went uncared for. It wouldn’t have taken much…  But, eh, at least it made me hyper-sensitive to Denny’s appreciation and it’s been wonderful for our relationship.

So, yeah, I call BS on this meme! A woman who serves unnoticed and unthanked is a an under-appreciated and 
probably not a very happy woman.

Now, that isn't to say that you should do things just to receive praise. Personally, I do what I do because I love myself and the people in my life. I do what makes me happy, what satisfies me, and I try to do things that are good and pleasant for those I love. I do what needs to be done because I don't feel good letting things go if I can do something about it, even unpleasant stuff like scrubbing behind the toilet or cleaning up vomit, or emotionally draining things like those occasional conversations with your teen you’d rather not have first thing in the morning.

Serving happily can be a tricky balance, especially if what you do does go unnoticed or unappreciated. I lied to myself for many years, thinking that I was at least pleasing God with my actions. It’s not easy to extend yourself with, “You’ll be rewarded somehow after you die,” being the only thing to hold onto. With God out of the picture I sought and found richer relationships with beings who can and do actually give back. It's been very rewarding.

That said, I never had the issues some do regarding motherhood. It’s nice when my children express appreciation, but I have never sought it from them. I don't need it from them. I ask for respect, and try to deserve it, that’s all. I give myself to them because I truly enjoy it and because they are my responsibility. But motherhood isn’t for everyone and not everyone finds the same satisfaction in the work. After your children are born is a very unfortunate time to discover this, as there are very few legal or moral ways to back out of it. My advice to these mothers is to suck it up, do your best, and try to add something more satisfying to your life. You’ll be happier and should bring that peace into your relationship with your children.

But if your other relationships aren’t rewarding, if you feel unappreciated (and you’re pretty sure you’re deserving of appreciation), the first step is communication. Second step is the same as above— can you add other people or things that satisfy? Can you subtract the negative? Or maybe you just need an attitude adjustment? Being arrogant or needy never got anyone anywhere.

Whatever the case, for the love of pasta, do not settle for pie in the sky!

Er… that’s all, I guess. Just a random rant triggered by Facebook.  Carry on.

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