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The Importance of Feeling Important: Is Humility Thwarting Your Happiness?

Personal value is the key to personal success. If we aren’t feeling important or valued, or if we don’t value ourselves, then the likelihood of achieving our goals in a meaningful way is pretty low. This is true in business and at home.

This makes us wonder how some people can be so successful at work, but have near disastrous personal lives. Or, alternatively, some people can lead amazing home lives, but are unable to reach their potential in business. It boils down to a simple fact: We thrive when we feel important.

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Think about your childhood. It’s probably fair to say that you did your best work for the teachers, coaches and parents who demonstrated that they valued you. You might even go so far as to admit that your closest sibling relationship is with the one that seemed to think you were pretty amazing.

You Deserve Respect and Praise, but You Probably Won’t Ask for it

As you look at your life right now, where do you feel important? At home? At work? Feeling important is a deep need in every person, however, for many, the idea of deserving importance or even admitting the importance of being respected is uncomfortable to face. Many people have adopted the attitude that they are going to do their best and everyone else will just have to deal with it — maybe. But if those in your life do not acknowledge or appreciate who you are in a meaningful way, then how do you know you are being the best version of yourself?

Personal value is the key to personal success

One of the major hurdles in accepting our importance, and feeling important is actually our own self. How many times have you denied yourself a birthday celebration? How many moments of humility have gotten in the way of allowing people to honor you for your achievements, large or small? In other words, how many times has your refusal to see your worth gotten in the way of people who care about you being able to celebrate you?

The problem starts subtly and then grows into a more obvious problem. Initially, you dismiss compliments, rewards and invitations to honor yourself. You believe you are just “doing your job.” Whether that job, in that moment, is as an executive, parent, coach or friend, you are performing according to your standards. In your eyes, the fact that someone else is benefiting from your efforts is an intended and obvious side effect. That works well until people stop trying to express to you the positive impact you’ve had on them.

Change is not the Answer to Feeling Important or Valued

Now that no one is actively expressing their appreciation for you, the job you are doing starts to feel like just a job. You are doing what has become expected and no longer know if it even matters on a personal level. You show up as expected, perform as expected, but there is no real sense of connection or fulfillment. You have stopped feeling important.

Losing your sense of importance can create a sense of emptiness inside. It can manifest as a lack of motivation, a sense of disconnect- a midlife crisis of sorts. You may feel burned out. You might begin to think maybe you need to change jobs, partners, houses, locations. You feel that those areas of your life in which you no longer feel fulfilled have simply run their course. This is when you’ll face the temptation to eliminate those things that were once deeply meaningful to you, and make drastic changes, if only to start feeling important once again.

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Maybe those upheavals will fill a gap temporarily, but ultimately, you will return to the same place. That’s because what you need to feel important is found within you- not outside of yourself. What you really need to do is regain your sense of importance. You need to start to celebrate yourself and also to let others celebrate you. Notice all the small places in your life where you honestly do matter and build from there. Stop denying your importance to the people around you.

Give Yourself Permission to Accept Your Value

At home, share your accomplishments. Celebrate your milestones. Ask others to celebrate with you. At work, start taking credit where credit is due. Allow people to recognize the value you bring to the table and add a touch of assertiveness to your well-cultivated humility. Humility is a beautiful personality trait to have, but too much of any virtue can harm more than help. Pay it forward, too- remind others of their importance, both to you and to the world at large.

Humility is a beautiful personality trait to have, but too much of any virtue can harm more than help

Once you begin to claim your importance and share it with others, your confidence will soar. You can ignite real passion. And you can also make decisions from a place of power and desire, as opposed to defeatism and despair.

The bottom line: If you stop feeling important, that you really, truly matter, then others will follow suit. Likewise, if you believe in your inherent value, and behave with the confidence and drive that the belief of your importance gives you, others will see your spirit and respect you, too. From here, you can do your best work.

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About Carrie Weiner Rosenbloom

Carrie Rosenbloom is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and attorney mediator in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She specializes in helping individuals and families navigate the complexities of divorce. Carrie also works with family businesses, helping them manage transitions, create succession plans, resolve conflict, and integrate a cohesive culture throughout family owned businesses. More information can…

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