appreciation.. or lack of

I haven’t written on this blog in a hot minute. It has everything to do with the fact that creativity always seems to strike me when I’m either A) in the shower or B) doing chores. Because of that I always forget the ideas by the time I get to my computer in hopes to write them down. This happens to be my last week of the semester, and I’m shocked at how fast time flies. Wasn’t January 1st yesterday? In other news, this was the most life-changing semester of my college career. I truly feel in control of my life now thanks to the Wolff Center. I feel worthy of greatness. I now believe that I am someone who deserves the opportunities presented to her. I think the #1 reason I have this newfound confidence is because our program director tells us we are the best every 7 minutes. After hearing it so much you start to believe it. Growing up, my dad was the same way. To this day, he always tells me I’m the best, and continues to lift my spirits. On the flip side, I have recently realized my sick need for gold stars. I need constant validation.

I also need to believe you when you compliment me. If you’re a girl, and you constantly tell me I’m pretty there’s no way in hell I’ll believe you. Girls generally compliment everyone.. when it’s someone who compliments sparsely I’m just like “omfg THANK YOU :,)” I think that’s why girls always fall for guys who are “rude to everyone else, but nice to me” – PSA: stay away from those boys! If they aren’t nice to everyone tell them to buzz off. It’s only a matter of time before they turn on you, and treat you like everyone else. 

Physical appearance wise I think I’m pretty. When I hop out of the shower most days I’m like oh shit u natural beauty u. However, if I stare at myself too long I feel my features morphing into a potato. It’s like when you think your selfie is good but after staring too long you’re like “nah”. But at the end of the day, I’m still an insecure lil girl whose self-worth is based on other people’s perceptions.

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So essentially I need recognition for anything I put work into; myself, my writing, events, etc. When I dress up I want someone to compliment me for all the work that I put in. If my hair is done I want it to be noted because I never do my hair!! If my outfit is fresh and you think so, lmk!! It’s pathetic. Even when it comes to writing I want people to tell me what they think. I feed off the positive comments. They’re what keep me going. This need for constant validation is why my life is a roller coaster of emotions. I need to start doing things for myself, and not because I think other people will appreciate me.

I’m someone who expects appreciation when doing nice things for others, which is SILLY because wtf do shit to be a good person and don’t expect anything in return. I know it’s due to the fact that I project myself onto others way too often. I know that if someone did the same nice things for me that I do for others I would start bawling. One time this guy in high school offered me a donut and I still reference that when talking about how nice people can be. A single donut. Clearly my standards are low.

At the bottom of my heart I do things like midnight birthday celebrations and writing cards because I want my friends to feel loved and special. But when people are really “meh” about the work I put in I get annoyed. Like this may be a lame balloon to you but to me it was a result of missing the exit to party city, not finding parking, and running late to a meeting in hopes of getting you this balloon. I’m personally very expressive with my feelings, so I always expect some sort of long paragraph of appreciation when in reality I get a simple “thanks Iman!”. 

I read the happiness project in hopes to better myself and I learned a lot about gold stars: 

“Oh, how I crave gold stars. One of my worst qualities is my insatiable need for credit; I always want the recognition, the praise, the gold star stuck on my homework. I struggle to master my need for gold stars, because it makes me a resentful score-keeper.

Nevertheless, for all my efforts, I have to admit that I still crave gold stars. Whether or not I should want them, I do. Here are the strategies I use to try to curb my craving:

1. Do it for yourself. For a long time, I self-righteously told myself that I made certain efforts “for the team.” While this sounded generous, it led to a bad result, because I sulked when my husband or whoever didn’t appreciate my efforts. Now, I tell myself, “I’m doing this for myself. This is what I want.” I want to send out Valentine’s cards. I want to organize the cabinets. This sounds selfish, but in fact, it’s less selfish, because it means I’m not waiting for a gold star. No one else even has to notice what I’ve done.

2. Find ways to reward yourself. Maybe other people aren’t giving you credit, but you can give yourself credit.

3. Tell people you’d like to get a gold star. Once I acknowledged to myself how much I crave gold stars, I was able to explain that to my family – and sometimes even joke about it. Since then, they’ve all been better about doling them out, because they know how important it is to me. Also, it’s easy for people innocently to overlook contributions you’ve made, and if you give a gentle reminder, they might happily load you with gold stars.

4. Express your appreciation for what other people do. One good rule for happiness is that if you wish people would act a certain way toward you, act that way yourself toward others. If you wish people would be freer with praise and appreciation, make sure you’re ladling it out yourself. Also, when you push yourself to feel grateful for what others are doing, you remind yourself of how much they do for you — and that eases resentment.

5. Remember that being taken for granted is a form of praise. It’s ironic: the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted. If you always meet deadlines, if you never lose your temper, if you’re always prepared, people overlook your efforts. Really, that’s a compliment.”

Recently I’ve started screenshotting all the nice things people say to me and compiling them in a private Facebook album with the unique name “nice things people say to me”. Oftentimes, I find myself in a dark place where I feel as though I’m useless, so it’s nice to have some proof that I matter. 

After reading this post I don’t expect useless compliments or anything. I just want everyone to be more expressive with their feelings. CAN WE BRING BACK LIKE FOR A TBH STATUSES?! The world was a better place when these statuses existed. It was the only time side-friends would let you know that “You’re pretty, and cool! We should hangout, lol.” I just want to know how people feel about me. Like do y’all think I’m cool or do we hang just bc there is no one else? I need to know how I am perceived.

If I think someone is really amazing I always let them know that I’m a fan of theirs. We need to show gratitude more often! We need to let people know how highly we think of them. There are so many times I’ll praise people in private only to never let them know how awesome I think they are. Let them know! Make their day! Maybe they really needed that to get through the day.

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