Whether it was a conceited boss, an ungrateful child or a partner who just assumed you’d take care of something without a word of thanks, everyone can recognize the maddening powerlessness of being taken for granted. It’s a universal experience and one I’m all too familiar with of late. It’s with great sorrow I admit that I have been atrociously and mercilessly taken for granted.
The fact is in the last year I have worked my ass off to start living my best, most authentic life. I’ve spent countless hours working with my therapist, reading books, taking classes, writing…and I have made a lot of progress.
Still, I have a lot more work to do and lately my motivation to keep doing the hard things, to be brave, has waned. Hashing out traumas and inviting hurt to sit beside me has become more and more difficult There are days I want to cry uncle. To scream ENOUGH! I’m betterish. I’m okay enough to lay down these heavy, difficult loads and go back to living in the light of superficiality. I’m tired of staring, bewildered, at the grimy underbelly of my life, of trying to decide where and how to scrub off the dirt without ruining the artwork lying beneath. I want desperately to live an exceptional life but the idea of settling sounds so appealing. To be okay with just being okay sounds so exquisitely comfortable. But as I’ve been thinking about all this, my waning motivation, my reluctance to dig deep, it’s become clear the reason why I’ve become complacent. I’ve been taking myself for granted.
When I was managing a group of staff I took all kinds of classes and read all sorts of leadership books that all said the same thing; one of the leading causes of employee burnout and resentment is a lack of appreciation from leadership. That concept had the ring of truth to me and became the foundation of my leadership style. I made it my mission to ensure my people knew when they did a good job and that their efforts were appreciated. Yet I’ve never once extended this basic courtesy to myself. I’ve done all this work without stepping back to give myself a big round of applause or even reminding myself that ‘girl, this shit is HARD. You are killing it. You are making changes and confronting yourself in ways most people wouldn’t even consider and it is showing.’ Instead I’ve pushed myself relentlessly, a crappy boss who expects more More MORE from his employees without taking the time to show some damned gratitude for all their hard work.
It’s time to stop holding ourselves to a higher standard than we hold others. It’s time we start treating ourselves with basic dignity and respect and a modicum of common courtesy. If employees perform better when they are appreciated won’t we, our own most valuable employee, also perform better in our own lives? If we stop taking ourselves for granted and start thanking ourselves in ways that makes our souls sing we’ll dig deeper. We’ll inspire ourselves to try harder and empower ourselves to make brave choices. A little gratitude goes a long way…especially when it’s gratitude turned inwards.