Stop Taking Me For Granted

Stop taking me for granted

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal how we end up taking people for granted and how to avoid doing that.

First a quick update:

FOX News interview”
Watch the interview I give to WTXF FOX 29 TV News Philadelphia, this Saturday Feb 12 at 6:30 PM EST about “5 Valentine’s Day gifts to take back” or read the press release.

“Lindsay Lohan – Celebrities and shoplifting”
Prosecutors are expected to formally charge Lindsay Lohan today with felony grand theft related to a necklace allegedly taken from a California jewelry store last month. Listen to the Radio interviews I gave to news host Joe Gillespe and news anchor Corey Olsen – morning hosts of Newsradio 840 KXNT Las Vegas.

Now, let’s talk about the reasons we unknowingly take people for granted.

The dictionary defines ‘taking something for granted’ as:

  1. To fail to appreciate the value of something e.g. So many of us take clean water for granted
  2. To accept something as true without questioning or testing it

Another dictionary also defines the act of taking something for granted as:

To give little attention to or to underestimate the value of, to fail to appreciate

Thus, when we take someone for granted we are failing to give him or her attention, failing to appreciate their value and we are accepting as true without questioning that he or she will always be there. We tend to do this in most areas of our life including our relationships (romantic relationships, friendships and business relationships.) Many of us take for granted things such as freedom, personal security, clean air and water, food, etc. We can easily lose sight of the value of:

1. A home or shelter
2. Our health
3. Personal independence and freedom
5. Access to education
6. Modern conveniences and simple comforts such as air conditioning, heating, hot water, etc
7. Jobs and career
8. Technology – internet, cell phones, computers, digital communication, etc

Of course, we suddenly gain appreciation for something once we have lost it. As Joni Mitchell sang in her 1970s hit “Big Yellow Taxi” (and later covered by Counting Crows and also featured in the film Buena Vista Social Club):

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Come and took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Each one of us can probably identify one if not many areas of our life where we take someone or something for granted. The one aspect of our life that we usually take for granted the most is the people closest to us – friends, family and loved ones.

When we take someone or something for granted we are creating a habit; a habit is something we do or do not do without conscious thought – an almost automatic reaction. We take people for granted because we feel secure in our relationship or we assume that they will always be there, and in turn, this leads to a loss of appreciation and a loss of assessed value for that person. In other words, we only truly appreciate, value and feel grateful for something when we consider the possibility of loss; we assume that there is permanency with our relationship, our job or the things around us. Nothing is truly permanent.

I am not suggesting that we turn to the other extreme of living from a place of constant fear of loss but rather that we consider that everything is temporary, it is on loan, and as such everything is a gift or a blessing.

One of the most common complaints from my clients in relationships is that their partner takes them for granted and does not appreciate, recognize or thank them for who they are, what they do or the ways the contribute to the relationship or family. And this complaint is even more prevalent amongst men who say their wife or girlfriend does not express any form of appreciation.

Also read my articles “Affair-proofing your marriage” from September 2010  or “Five habits men can live without” from February 2011.

The antidote to the habit of taking someone or something for granted is simply gratitude which can be expressed in the following forms:

Give attention

Express interest in your partner or loved ones; ask questions, listen intently and sincerely; spend time with him or her; be a companion and a friend. Another common pain and issue for many of my clients is the feeling and experience that their parents did not give them enough attention when they were growing up. To give attention in the moment, refers to making that person a priority. Set aside time to spend with him or her and when you give them attention, make it undivided. In other words, focus purely on him or her in the moment – do not text, read emails, surf the internet or check messages while you are with this person; make them feel like a priority; look in their eyes and listen with your heart as well as your ears. And when giving attention, make the topic about them not you, otherwise you are simply using them to give you attention.


List all the qualities and aspects of your partner for which you can be thankful and then set aside time to express that appreciation (see further below)


Why do you value this person or this relationship? What is special about this person? How has he or she positively impacted your life? What difference has he or she made or continues to make, and how does he or she contribute to your joy and happiness? List the answers to these questions and then you can…

Express gratitude

Each and every one of us needs to receive a thank you but needs it in our own unique way. For example, some people want to hear the words “thank you”; others want to feel it with a hug, a kiss or some form of affection; others like to see it expressed in small gifts or actions (a thank you card, a favor returned, etc.) Become clear about what your partner needs to feel that you are grateful (words, gifts, actions, etc.)

In my Newsletter “Killing love quickly” from April 2010, I suggested to beware of neglect which is one of the key components and signs of taking someone for granted:

George Bernard Shaw, the playwright and essayist who won the 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, once wrote that the essence of inhumanity is not hatred but indifference. When a person truly doesn’t care about you, they ignore you. Your comments, thoughts, needs and existence are irrelevant. What does it feel like to be invisible? When you become so busy with work, bills or the children that you barely notice your partner, then you are neglecting him or her. Love is about helping the other person to feel special, and that cannot occur when you don’t tend to them. The solution is to consciously be aware of how much time you are devoting to everything else over your partner.

Finally, as a close friend once said to me: cherish those around you because someday they will not be there. Express your love, appreciation and gratitude now to the people who matter the most in your life; you don’t have to wait till Valentine’s Day!

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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