Feeling unappreciated and taken for granted as a stepmom.
Do you know the feeling? Like the old Janet Jackson song goes, you may be asking your partner or stepkids, “what have you done for me lately?” (Irrelevant aside and confession: I’m a huge fan of 80’s music).
But what you should really be asking is “what have you done for yourself lately”?
In my experience, we often feel taken for granted and unappreciated if we are lacking in the self-love department.
What if your limited sense of self-love was actually making the problem worse?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you’re to blame.
But I AM saying that there are things you can do to make the situation better. You have power here, if you choose to accept it, and it doesn’t come from a place of self-loathing and feeling like Cinderella.
The truth is – if you whole-heartedly loved yourself, you probably wouldn’t need to people-please in order to feel appreciated. When you truly love and appreciate yourself, you develop a deep sense or inner-knowing about your own value and worth.
When you develop that, you don’t need to receive praise and acknowledgement from the outside.
This doesn’t mean receiving appreciation is unnecessary. Rather, receiving appreciation is a complement to the appreciation you give yourself. If you don’t value, love and appreciate yourself, then no matter how much thanks and praise you get from the outside, it will never be enough to fulfil that inner lack. If you aren’t able to receive compliments and are dismissive of them (“oh this old thing?” when someone compliments your new sweater), this may be a sign you don’t truly appreciate yourself.
This also doesn’t mean that you let people take advantage of your kindness or settle for less. On the contrary, it means that you love and respect yourself enough to know your boundaries and make sure they aren’t crossed. Not in a “bitchy” and cold way, but in a loving and assertive way. For example, if you’re making dinner every night and getting complaints and no support from your partner, maybe you need to stand up for yourself, have a talk with your partner and make some changes before things get out of hand.
So, what if you could activate a deep sense of self-love and appreciation in those moments of feeling taken for granted?
You CAN fill-up your own cup of self-love and appreciation, rather than wait for others to do it or you. When you notice that those feelings of being taken for granted are coming up, ask yourself these two questions:
1) Is a boundary being crossed? Am I doing something I really don’t want to be doing; and
2) How would I show-up if I truly loved and appreciated myself? What would I do?
I believe that when you act with self-love, it is actually the most selfless thing you can do. When you love yourself and feel fulfilled, you can show up fully and truly love others.
Your self-love is the basis for all other forms of love in your life – if it’s lacking, it will show in other areas of your life. On the contrary, if it’s full and complete, you become a force of love in your family.
When you make self-care a priority, you do what makes you feel whole, and become a more confident and radiant person as a result. Think about the people in your life that you enjoy spending time with – it’s likely people who are positive, self-loving, and vibrate with that high-vibe energy. That energy is attractive and draws people in to you. Ask yourself, how can you grow to become more like that positive, energetically attractive, self-loving person?
Self-care doesn’t mean trips to the spa and putting on make-up. It means putting your needs and desires on the table, knowing your own worth, and appreciating yourself. It means making those needs and desires a priority in your life – just like you would prioritize your own child’s needs. As women and care-takers, we can really put our needs on the back-burner, and this will lead to eventual resentment and burn-out.
What can you do to honor your own needs and desires and take care of yourself?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments or via email.
kinda irrelevant side note: I started listening to 80’s music while I wrote this blog and am super-high vibe “I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody, yah I wanna dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me” Whitney!!! I’m dancing as I type this – and dancing is one form of self-care for me, so is writing this blog! If you don’t like 80’s music you may not understand this last comment ;)