Every week my job presents me with a new set of challenges. It’s as if it’s my personal spiritual classroom. The work itself is easy. In fact, the technical aspects of most of my jobs come easily to me. It’s always been the emotional, relational aspects that give me difficulty. This week I struggled with feeling unappreciated. A large new project began on Tuesday and the message from management seemed to be: yes, there’s a lot to do on top of everything else, but get it done anyway. The timelines were unreasonable, especially with all the interruptions that happen throughout the day. But the workload isn’t what irked me, it was the lack of sympathy and recognition. I got everything done, and none of it was acknowledged. I kept waiting for some sign of appreciation, but none came. I felt let down, and the feeling simmered into this weekend until it boiled over.
I was stewing in self-pity [“what would they do without me?” and “they’ll be sorry when I’m gone!”], when I had an epiphany: It’s my responsibility to make myself feel appreciated. Whatever the job was causing me to feel was actually coming from me. I feel unseen in general and it gets projected outward, so no matter what actually happens on the outside, it gets interpreted to confirm my feelings of under appreciation. However, I can choose to feel acknowledged. At any moment we can choose our emotions. It doesn’t have to be reactionary, and it’s fully within our control.
I’ve known about how expectations dictate our experiences for a long time, but now I understand it at another level. Life doesn’t conform to what we want, it conforms to what we expect. I was expecting to be unseen and the world graciously complied. What if I started to feel appreciated, and taught myself to feel this way on a regular basis? My world would likely acquiesce to that too. This is an ongoing lesson that I seem to need to learn and relearn. I keep falling back into feelings of being invisible because that was the environment I grew up in. With this new experience, I got a glimpse of paradise. Imagine feeling loved and appreciated all the time regardless of what is happening around us. Now it’s up to me to practice feeling all the emotions that I’ve been waiting for the world to give me. I wasn’t waiting for the world after all, I was waiting for me.