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What To Do When You're Feeling Unappreciated

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

I woke up with tears in my eyes. I wasn’t surprised because I went to sleep with tears in my eyes too. I was deeply upset.

The previous day I’d leapt out of bed with vigour before 6am to prepare lunch for our team of 12. They didn’t know I was going to, I thought I’d surprise them.

Before I’d even let the jug finish boiling for my cuppa, I began buttering two loaves of bread, making sure to get the butter right to the edges as my Mum—a caterer – taught me from the age of 12. I learnt to be intentional with every spread of the knife.

I had boiled some eggs the night before. My chickens had only laid them that day, so they were a bitch to peel, taking twice as long. Eventually I mashed them with mayo, running (yes, I ran) outside in my dressing gown to pick some parsley to chop in too.

I grated some cheese, remembering the astronomical price I’d paid for it, chopped half an onion, and mixed it together with a tiny bit of heated milk – another one of Mum’s tips.

I laid out the pieces of bread, noting the time. I wanted to get these sammies to the team before their first smoko. Heaps of time left. In fact, enough time to whip up some chicken pie pasties with the left-over chicken stew from last night, I thought.

I deserted the half-made sandwiches on the bench to attend to the pasties. I put the oven on, defrosted the pastry, cut it into triangles and then placed little piles of chicken stew inside, making sure to put an even amount in each one. Intentional in my movements.

Back to my sammies, placing egg and ham on some and cheese and onion on the others, making sure, once again, to get it right to the edges. I visualised whether my team would eat the crusts or not. Will they even care if the egg is right to the edges if they don’t eat the edges? But then what if they do… Oooh how nice would it be to eat a crust with flavourful filling on it. I had each of them and their joy in the forefront of my mind.

Popped the pasties in the oven, cut the sammies in halves, wrapped each one in glad wrap – I know, don’t judge me – and imagined who in my team might choose this one, or this one, or this one.

I guess you could say that lunch was filled with an abundance of intention and of care, which is just the way I like to do things when I give to others.

My Love pulled his ute up outside the back door and I handed him the tray of delicious smelling lunch to put on the front seat. In the back seat of his ute our big rescue dog Buddy licked his lips. Giving him and My Love the look of Don’t You Dare Touch These, I waved goodbye, feeling filled with satisfaction, joy and a ton of energy.

In that moment. Giving. Felt. Good.

Now, I’ve done a lot of work on the motivations behind giving. I understand from past experiences of burn out that when we give from an empty cup it often leads to resentment. This is because when we give from an empty cup, we are expecting that person to fill our cup for us. Therefore, it has conditions attached. For example, if I give to you then you must: show appreciation/use it as I intended/do what I want you to do/repay me in the future when I need something. This kind of giving stems from the ego.

In contrast, when we give from a full cup, we are already feeling filled with appreciation. It’s in the act of giving itself that we receive, not in the result we get afterwards. The give and receive is simultaneous in the moment; anything that happens after the act of giving is irrelevant. This is why many philanthropists choose to be anonymous. In this way, giving comes from a non-judgmental, non-conditional, open hearted place.

I’ve known this for years, and have assimilated this knowledge into how I choose to give in my life.

So why then, did I feel so upset?

No one had said thank you.

After all that effort, time, consideration, caring, money, intention, and heart I gave to them no one even thought to say thank you.

Not even one. Well, except Merv but that was because I asked him if he’d had lunch.

My tears were relentless.

My heart felt so empty and small, yet my emotions felt so big and tangible. Like if you came near me and placed your hand up against my energy field you could just reach in and feel the fleshy, bloody, mushy, denseness of my pain.

I was feeling deeply, deeply, unappreciated and uncared for.

Despite the obvious and rational explanations of my feelings (those ungrateful little shits) I still felt like it was bigger than just this. I kept asking, “What is this Ange? What is actually going on here?” and eventually I became aware.

This was historical.

Many years ago, when I was a young mum, and carving my way through motherhood in the only way I knew how – which was to go hard and fast, the way I was role modelled – I remember feeling like this. Unappreciated. Uncared for.

Look at all the things I do for you! No one ever says thanks for the care I put into those immaculate nutritious lunchboxes, those clean sheets every week, those soccer boots I dropped off when you forgot, those pick-ups and drop-offs to friends’ houses, those times I said no to Pilates so I could attend a school trip, when I finished studying early so I could see you speak at assembly, when I organised a family holiday instead of handing in my assignment, when I made nachos – again – but I really felt like a stir fry, when I spent my last $50 on an outfit for you when I desperately wanted new one myself, when I cancelled the two thousand things on my To-Do list to spend time with you when you were having a wobble, when I picked up your clothes off the floor and put them in the wash because I could see you were tired.

Those times I had chosen you instead of me.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do those things, I chose them because you are important to me. And I prioritised you,

But in doing so, over and over and over again, I forgot to also prioritise me. My cup.

So, yeah, I feel unappreciated because I didn’t appreciate me. (Taking ownership of your shit is so humbling sometimes.)

And here I am, ten years later, with unresolved feelings bubbling up to the surface in my snot. Energy ready to finally be released.

As I lay in bed with tears still streaming, I knew these were historical emotions, but I still couldn’t stop thinking of those sandwiches and those god damned rude and unappreciative staff! (Said with loud, judgy voice.) My good friend Kate once said to me, “Ange, you can‘t be more enlightened than you are in this moment. Acknowledge how you’re feeling.”

And so, I wondered what I should do next.

In the past, I would feel a frantic, frenetic energy, desperate almost, to have this thing, this energy, this feeling - shift. I would do a mental run through my mind of what practitioner I could see to facilitate me, or I would go through all the practices I could do myself – meditation, reiki, energy flows, breath-work, yoga even.

But this day I felt the Universe calling me outside.

Okay, I’ll go outside, and I’ll do…

Nothing Ange.

But if I’m outside I may as well do something healing

No Ange. Nature itself is healing

But can’t I just..

No. Just Be, Ange. Just sit outside. And see what happens.

(Sometimes God and I have such interesting and humorous conversations.)

So, I listened.

I grabbed a mat and a sheepskin. I wrapped myself up in a blanket because it was a chilly winter’s morning. And I sat on the deck, in the morning-ness. I had to be intentional to Do Nothing because I kept feeling like I needed to do some clearing of energy, but I remembered God’s instructions, so I just sat.

And I listened to the bird song.

I observed the burnt orange leaves as they swayed and fell.

I felt the coolness of winter on my cheeks.

I smelt the dampness of the grass.

I noticed my mind wander to sandwiches.

And I noticed myself bringing my mind back to nature again.

Over and over again.

Over and over again.

Gently now.

Until eventually, my mind stopped wandering.

And I felt my vibration start to settle, to match with the energy of nature.

And I felt peace descend like a chiffon scarf around me.

And then I noticed my 6mth old kitten high in the tree stalking birds. What the hell! She’ll get stuck. She’ll kill a bird. She’ll….

And then I noticed my mind.

And then I brought my mind back to nature again, to the sounds, the smells, the feel, the sights.

Over and over and over again.

Gently now.

And I asked to be healed from my pain.

It didn’t happen with much fanfare. There was no big sigh of energy release, no cries or sobs or noisy breath out.

It just sort of, happened.

Within about fifteen minutes I felt different. I felt lighter. I felt like I could get up and start the day. But not before I heard quite clearly –

Ange, write this out

Lately, writing has done a resurgence within me, and it’s always been a cathartic outlet. So, without further ado, I rolled up my mat, found my laptop and continued my way towards healing. Trusting that sometimes things don’t just clear immediately, and there will be multiple times when a layer is released. And that’s ok.

Finding solace simply by sitting outside in nature has been a revelation to me, yet instinctively I think we and the animal kingdom have always known the magnificence and powerfulness of simply being under a tree, or walking in a forest, or picking flowers, or lying on grass, or swimming in lakes, or sitting atop a mountain, or having our hands deep in the dirt. Yet if we remain inside our houses, inside our cars, on our devices, we unlearn how to just Be in nature. To Be without any purpose, motivations, desires or selfies. My feelings of being unappreciated and uncared for have alerted me to amp up my own self-care and intentionally appreciate myself. To care for myself the way I did for my team that day. To make my own sandwiches – with the filling right to the god damn edges.

1 Comment

Well said Ange.

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