Monday, May 13, 2013

When Nobody Cares

No matter your job, station or personality, there will be days when all of your hard work, devotion and love will be overlooked, ignored and left to fall into the oblivion.  And while we can all sit here and discuss the whys and the explanations, to the person feeling unimportant the whys don't matter.  At least not right then. What usually matters is the list of other people who are acknowledged or showered with attention.  The main thing the insignificant person can see is how little their effort seems to matter, unless of course they didn't follow through next time.  Then maybe there'd be a big stink, but mostly it would just be a reprimand of "do better next time" that seems to communicate nobody has time for excuses.

The days we are that person, in the throws of self-pity (justified or not) and desperate for importance and appreciation, what do you do? For some it's not hard to complain and ask for extra attention.  But that's typically not who I'm talking about.  For others, just bringing it up makes them feel like a heel, tainting any further attention that might come.  In that case (when you know it's at  bare minimum rude to say "Hey, can someone give me a round of applause please because I'm working really hard?"), what do you do?

Honestly, I'm not sure what works the best, but here are a few things that we can try:

1) Pray.  Pray for your pride and your emotional needs.  Pray for those that are not appreciating you.  Pray for a distraction, something to look forward to, or for the appreciation to just not matter today.

2) Revisit old or determine new goals for yourself.  What's the purpose of your work/effort/devotion?  Sometimes we get focused on the acknowledgement and lose sight of the purpose.  Appreciation is healthy and necessary for flourishing relationships, but shouldn't be the purpose.  If it has evolved into that, then maybe it's time to focus on something else.

3)Write down why you matter.  Make a list. Journal about it.  Tell the dog.  Notice how everything on the list is possible through the grace of God.  Then, find someone else and tell them why THEY matter too.

How much violence and permanent damage (to groups, relationships, etc.) is the exasperated result of someone getting their feelings hurt in some way?  Far too much.  I struggle with allowing my feelings fester into destructive reactions - to life, to people, to things I know are not the cause.  And if I don't find something productive (like writing about it or talking to someone) about the issue, I grow more and more reactive and destructive.  It's never justified, but it does give a context for how overreactive people can get.  Let's help each other by honoring each other's emotions and giving safe arenas to work through pain and human hurt.

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