Warning: This post was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. However, I am reading it in French, so there’s a chance that I have totally mangled her meaning.
Are you a person who needs gratitude? Do you often go around wondering why your family, friends, boss, and/or colleagues haven’t thanked you for all you do? When I’m talking with friends who are unhappy at work or in relationships, it’s not long before the word ‘appreciation’ shows up: “I spent four hours, four hours I didn’t have, on that cake, and no one said a single thing about it.” Or “My boss never thanks me when I turn in a report or give an update on a project. What’s wrong with people?”
Let’s even take for granted that your family should have appreciated the time and effort you took in making a cake and that your boss is a total Bozo for not thanking you. And yes, it’s nice to be appreciated. But when the lack of such appreciation ruins your day and even threatens to ruin your relationships, you need a better approach.
And that approach is to change the situation around to a “I did it for me” attitude.
Let’s say you buy a raspberry gelato at Whole Foods, then sit outside and eat it. Would you expect appreciation for that? Probably not. It’s something that you do for yourself.
So try thinking of other activities in that way as well.
If you decide to make a cake for a party, then say it’s because you like making homemade cakes and experimenting with different kinds of icing, that baking is a type of creativity for you. The party is just an excuse for you to use those skills.
And when you’re working on a report, tell yourself that you’re doing it for your own career advancement or because you don’t want people to think you do shoddy work. You do good work because that’s who you are.
And the best thing is that your feelings are no longer dependent on your oblivious family or your Bozo boss.