Feeling underappreciated? Try this simple remedy.Every once in a while, I get depressed and unmotivated. Of course, with depression comes the inevitable feeling-sorry-for-myself moments.
I was having one of those today while taking a shower, bemoaning my life, when a new thought occurred to me.
I have real problems talking on the phone. While I know the phone is an essential communication mechanism for many people, I still have a tough time actually picking up the phone and calling anyone. I always feel awkward once I actually call someone, and my goal is often to relay information and hang up as quickly as possible, resulting in confusion for the person on the other end!
I managed to get over this quite effectively for business, since I always had an end goal in mind (“Is your issue resolved? Is there anything else I can help you with? Okay, great, thanks. Have a great day!”) but for simple personal calls, I just can’t do it. There’s no goal!
Kicking Myself out of My Self-Pity
I decided today that I could kill two birds with one stone and take a great leap by actually calling people. Since I needed a goal, I made one up: I would call ten people who had helped me out, either recently or in the past, and tell them thank you. Since it’s near Thanksgiving, this seemed appropriate.
After nearly having a heart attack at the thought of this, I plunged ahead. I picked up the phone and started calling. And amazingly, after talking to just four people, my mood totally shifted.
What I said was basically “Hi, it’s Erica Douglass. It’s near Thanksgiving and I just thought I would give you a call and say thank you for [specific things you have helped me with.] I really appreciate you being there for me.”
This was insanely awkward for me. I had no idea what they would say! I couldn’t script the conversation in my mind! I just had to wait.
What came back was amazing. It was, every time I got an actual person, a compliment about me, and/or some way I had helped them.
Some of you may be thinking, “Duh, Erica. That’s reciprocity in action.” But it’s not just a simple marketing concept — it’s a whole new way of thinking for me.
What I concluded is this: If you’re feeling underappreciated and unloved, chances are it’s because you aren’t giving out enough compliments and thank-yous to the people you appreciate.
Think about it. We’re all so quick to criticize. I admit that I’m the worst about this. I’m quick to point out what’s wrong. But how rare is it that you just get a phone call or letter — a real phone call or personal letter, not some quick email or form letter — saying “Thank you! You’ve made THIS SPECIFIC meaningful difference in my life, and I appreciate you.”
Why don’t you be the one to start this chain?
Don’t be so quick to write this off. Try it yourself. Make it your Thanksgiving goal to call ten people you love, and tell them why you appreciate them. Don’t pitch them, sell them, or expect anything in return. Next time you’re depressed, do it again. You may be amazed at how it will change your life.