I was feeling resentful and under-appreciated. My husband went out of town and I felt stuck in the daily grind of dishes, laundry, cooking, driving and homework. Even the holidays just looked like more chores on my to-do list. I was busy but bored. Normally I can coach myself out these moods, take some time to myself, go to yoga, etc. This time I wasn’t snapping out of my bitterness. I really needed to feel appreciated, valued and considered but I was stuck in my self-righteous anger and I didn’t like it.
I believe that no one can make you feel anything without you believing it first. If you tell me I’m mean and selfish, it doesn’t affect me because I don’t have that belief about myself. If I roll out of bed and drive to CVS, sick and feeling awful with my head pounding and nose running, and I see you there and you tell me how great I look, I will not believe you. If I want to feel appreciated, I have to appreciate me first, in order to receive a compliment from anyone else. So as dorky as I felt doing it, I wrote myself a thank you note:
I just want to take a minute to thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make our household run smoothly. You do such a great job of raising our children, cooking for our family, keeping them in clean clothes that fit, and maintaining a beautiful home, it’s easy to take you for granted. You manage to stay in good spirits while you juggle all the demands of our family. You encourage your children and husband to pursue their interests, joys, friendships and activities and are happy to “hold down the fort” and help facilitate, plan, drive and arrange financing to make these dreams possible. You always prioritize their needs, remembering their schedules, being on time, purchasing the right shoes, birthday presents, permission slips and all the details of life. You do this because your family’s happiness makes you so happy. Sometimes taking care of your family is a thankless job, but I want you to know that I appreciate and recognize your hard work, thoughtfulness and consistent care. You are a gem of a wife and mother and I am truly proud to walk in your shoes every day. I hope next time you look in the mirror, you recognize what a powerful force for good you truly are and how blessed your family is to have you in their lives.
With gratitude & love,
It took a few drafts to get into the genuine feeling of gratitude (that self-righteous anger held on tight!). But once I wrote it AND felt it, the rest of the day I felt only love and gratitude. It was like I had filled up my appreciation tank and didn’t need any external validation. But what happens when you are walking around, vibrating in self-appreciation? Other people feel it too, and about 5 hours later my husband walked in with a dozen roses AND the two items I asked him to pick up at Costco!
Don’t sit around and wait for someone to give you the feeling you want to feel. Give it to yourself first. Write a letter telling yourself how proud you are of you, how you deserve a break for all your hard work, how caring and generous you are, how much you admire your patience and self respect. Then watch and see how your family and your world start to respond to you differently.