Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On receiving ingratitude

I'm struggling with the concept of gratitude at present. The opposite end of gratitude, receiving it, or lack of it. In particular, how people express it for those that have done the most for us: family, our closest friends.  

It is a reflection of the space that I'm in: a culmination of my life until now, looking back at the decisions that have led me to here. I feel, very much, like being selfish.  You know the song "what about me, it isn't fair..."  Perhaps I'm having a 'thrisis'.  I find questioning the meaning of my life, wondering what makes it matter.  Why have I done the things I've done?  And what will matter from now on?  

By no means do I think it's a right to receive thanks for the things I do for those I love.  If that were my motivation, I would do much less than I do.  But there's a certain sting when someone stands about proclaiming "I did it my way" with no acknowledgement of the sacrifices I have made to help them get there.  

Lao Tzu is credited with saying:

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

I think it is the same with family, with those we love.  Our best work is invisible, when we are helping without proclaiming it, working quietly in the background.  If someone says 'I did it!': job well done supporter-person-you.  This is what I tell myself, the logic I build up around myself.  Ah but the sting, the sting... 

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