4 Things To Do When You Keep Giving Your All & Don't Get The Appreciation You Deserve

Photo: unsplash / Rachel McDermott
Self-Care Tips For How To Love Yourself When You're Feeling Unappreciated

If you're like many people, you know this scenario: You show up like a superstar at home, at work, for your friends, your family, and your community, but somehow get no sense of appreciation for it.

How is that possible?

I call this "Super Woman Syndrome" because you show up with these amazing gifts and superpowers and get treated like a doormat. I've found some really amazing secrets for breaking this painful pattern and finally being seen and valued for your incredible gifts.

RELATED: 7 Ways You Should Be Taking Care Of Yourself (Every Day)

First of all, why do you do it? Why do you feel so compelled to try to be everything to everyone?

I worked a full-time job, put myself through an honors degree in college full time, did art projects, and held up a dysfunctional marriage to an alcoholic and abusive husband for seven years. I was a photographer and a mountain biker on top of all of that.

People would ask me how I got so much done and I wondered how anyone could do any less. But when my health fell apart and the abuse in my marriage got bad enough, and I realized all the extra effort I was putting into my job was actually attracting negative attention instead of promotions, I had to question everything I was doing.

I dug down deep and discovered something that many people struggle with: "Not enough" programming.

Somewhere, usually in early childhood, you got the message that what you did and who you were was not enough. You may not even have a conscious belief that you are not enough, but if it's buried in the subconscious (which controls over 90 percent of your behavior) then you don't realize the craziness it is making in your life.

The "not enough" programming urges you to try to be everything to everyone, and encourages you by creating an unrealistic persona of some feminine superhero that has no personal needs, can take care of all the messes around her and do it without breaking a sweat.

What results is that you create unreasonably high expectations from others. They see you always showing up with a smile, never making requests, reliable ... it's so steady that you end up becoming invisible and people only notice if, for some godforsaken reason, you happen to fall short.

Then the programming gets reinforced: "I can't make a mistake!" You make it look so effortless, people just assume it is and those feats of superhuman strength pass by as "normal."

You feel invisible and the message, "Well, I guess it's just not impressive enough to earn any praise. Try harder next time!" And it continues until you burn yourself out: Relationships fall apart, health crashes, accidents happen, you get passed up time and time again for the promotion you know you deserve.

So, how do you stop the maddening spiral? To uncover and completely remove that old programming of "not enough," it takes some skilled, professional support, but here are the steps I took to allow myself to be human instead of a superhero and to start enjoying my life instead of killing myself to try to achieve the impossible.

Here are 4 ways you can practice self-care to learn how to love yourself as you are instead of pushing to keep up with "Super Woman Syndrome":

RELATED: Practice These 5 'Layers' Of Self-Care (For Greater Happiness & More Satisfaction)

1. Start taking little steps away from all the responsibility.

It would be difficult for you and others if you just stopped doing all that you are all together. You've set up a lot of co-dependence, and letting it crash will cause some unnecessary chaos.

But you can start to scale back what you're doing. Take a step back every week away from your incredibly high standards for yourself. See if anyone even notices.

2. Start using that energy you're saving for yourself.

As you start to let go of taking care of other people and their responsibilities, start gifting yourself with that extra time: Rest, reading, walks in nature, meditation, etc. What brings you joy? Spend the extra resources on your most valuable resource: You!

3. Ask others for help.

This can be super hard, but it also starts to let people know that, hey, you're actually human after all. You can say something like "I'd love to bring breakfast for our next meeting, but there's no way I could do it all. Who wants to help out?"

As others start to respond, they're more likely to recognize all that goes into doing what you do.

4. Let someone else step up.

When an opportunity comes along to do something, instead of jumping in, let someone else volunteer. If you're still having a hard time stepping down completely, you can offer to help out, but don't be in charge.

Letting other people take the lead is a gift you may not have yet recognized you can give.

There are actually many more ways to support you in breaking through "Super Woman Syndrome," but these are a great start!

RELATED: 8 Self-Care Tips For Anyone Who’s Recovering From Burnout

Amanda Elo'Esh, M.A., is a spiritual healer, international speaker, and counseling psychologist who wants to help you live your purpose. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website.