Profile image
By The Bookshelf Muse
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Character Motivation Entry: Being Acknowledged and Appreciated By Family

Saturday, February 25, 2017 3:31
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

What does your character want? This is an important question to answer because it determines what your protagonist hopes to achieve by the story’s end. If the goal, or outer motivation, is written well, readers will identify fairly quickly what the overall story goal’s going to be and they’ll know what to root for. But how do you know what outer motivation to choose?

If you read enough books, you’ll see the same goals being used for different characters in new scenarios. Through this thesaurus, we’d like to explore these common outer motivations so you can see your options and what those goals might look like on a deeper level.

Character’s Goal (Outer Motivation): Being Acknowledged and Appreciated by One’s Family or Loved Ones

Forms This Might Take:

    • Being acknowledged for one’s dedication to one’s children and their growth (volunteerism as school, coaching their teams, driving to practices, fundraising)
    •  Being acknowledged by family for one’s independence (such as a youth who works, pays for one’s own car, clothing, tuition, etc.) rather than expect family to pay one’s way)
    • Being appreciated for the time one puts into the house and family (cooking and other chores, maintaining the home, making repairs as needed, paying bills, offering emotional support to family members, offering unconditional love and support, etc.)
    • An acknowledgement for a sacrifice one is making (of time, money, of personal energy, etc.) to see to the needs within the family, such as caring for an elderly parent, supporting a family member as they navigate a difficult situation such as cancer treatment, working with a cousin to help get them out of financial distress, etc.)
    • Being acknowledged for one’s passion and dedication to a goal, despite opposition and setbacks (starting up a new business, trying to break in as an artist or musician, working to keep a homeless shelter or charitable organization afloat through hard times, advocating for a cause)
    • Being appreciated by family members for one’s dedication to providing financial security (working multiple jobs, attending night school to retrain for a better job, accepting a position that requires lots of travel or being on-call) and giving up sleep, personal self care, and other sacrifices to do so

    Human Need Driving the Goal (Inner Motivation): esteem and recognition

    How the Character May Prepare for This Goal

    • Living by example (being a good role model, appreciating others for what they do and showing it, offering praise that is deserved)
    • Pointing out what one is doing and why as a ‘team decision’ to an unappreciative or upset spouse (such as acknowledging that long hours at work means one isn’t around as much, but it’s paying the mortgage and allows the kids to be on sports teams or follow their passions, which is what the spouse also wants)
    • Not getting sucked into petty family drama and instead turning the other cheek or diffusing it as best as one can
    • Voicing that one is feeling that one’s efforts are being disregarded and opening up about how that makes one feel in a calm way
    • Asking for help when one is feeling overwhelmed rather than trying to “do it all” and thereby sending a message that one is overloaded
    • Share responsibility with others within the family so they can understand accountability and the costs associated with one’s role (dividing up chores, driving schedules for the kids’ activities, ask a sibling to step up to take an ailing parent to medical appointments, etc.)
    • Being honest about hurtful statements and actions and asking for a conversation about it without it devolving into a blame game
    • Reining in one’s anger and resentment so it doesn’t escalate arguments about who does what
    • Asking others to step in and share a financial or time burden so they better appreciate the difficulties of managing everything
    • Lessening one’s availability to demanding family members so they better realize how much they depend on the support on one and shouldn’t take it for granted
    • Acknowledging the passions and interests of others and showing respect for the effort and dedication involved
    • Having healthy discussions about what is lacking without personalizing it to one’s own situation

    Possible Sacrifices or Costs Associated With This Goal

    • Strained relationships between family members who are self-absorbed or who struggle with change
    • Having to cut out toxic relationships (which could lead to family feuds as members pick sides)
    • Shifts in finances, schedules, and responsibilities that may cause fallout if one shifts responsibility burdens to others so they gain a deeper appreciation for what one does (encouraging one’s partner to scale back work hours and be home more to help out, for example, resulting in tighter finances but more family time or home support)
    • Taking on additional responsibility (financial, etc.) to follow a passion despite a lack of family support in order to prove oneself as committed and capable
    • Misunderstandings over motives as one scales back so another can assume more responsibility (like an elderly parent being hurt that one is no longer providing meals and in-home support, not understanding that this is so a sibling can take it over to better appreciate the time and energy involved)

    Roadblocks Which Could Prevent This Goal from Being Achieved

    • Toxic family members who sabotage one’s efforts or try to dismantle one’s self esteem to “keep one in line”
    • A financial crisis
    • A health crisis in the family
    • Third-party suffering (giving one’s partner the responsibility of picking the kids up from school and taking them to activities to discover late pick ups and excuses are leaving kids feeling neglected or getting them in trouble for showing up late to practice)
    • Competitive family members who are always trying to “one-up” the character
    • Family members who refuse to step up
    • Narcissistic family members who try and turn others against the character, citing selfishness

    Talents & Skills That Will Help the Character Achieve This Goal:

    Possible Fallout For the Protagonist if This Goal Is Not Met:

    • Broken family relationships with those who refuse to validate one’s value and contributions (a falling out with one’s parents, refusing to speak to a sibling, cutting an aunt out of one’s life, etc.)
    • Divorce
    • Personal burnout that leads to emotional volatility, depression, anxiety, or complete breakdown
    • Damaging relationships unintentionally because of the emotional strain (yelling at the kids, snapping at a partner) because of friction with other family members and situations
    • Fallout from neglect (especially between parent and child, or partners in a relationship) that creates low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and need for validation from anyone who will give it
    • Sleep issues and increased stress which could lead to a medical crisis
    • Reaching a tipping point and feeling a failure when one is no longer able to keep up with all one does
    Click here for a list of our current entries for this thesaurus, along with a master post containing information on the individual fields.

    Image: Johnhain @ Pixabay






The Bookshelf Muse is a hub for writers, educators and anyone with a love for the written word. Featuring Thesaurus Collections that encourage stronger descriptive skills, this award-winning blog will help writers hone their craft and take their writing to the next level.


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global


Top Alternative




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.