Lately I’ve really been thinking a lot about gratitude. I look for it in others to see how it looks on them. I regularly exercise my own gratitude and stay in a grateful place…
The more I’m aware of gratitude, the more I see a chronic lack of it in so many. And I wonder, perhaps mine is too large and thus, easily taken for granted and/or manipulated? Or do I just happen to have regular contact and life dealings with basically ungrateful (selfish?) people?
My ex-husband is a most generous man for the most part. I would never deem him selfish in any monetary sense and yet, the man has a perspective that is selfish to such an extreme that I have trouble comprehending his view, much less reconciling it with the man I know who would help me or our children out with money to just about any length we requested, as long as it wasn’t just an obnoxious request… So, I wonder just how a generous man so regularly maintains a perspective of every day dealings quite as” ME, ME, ME!!!” as this man does?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for his financial generosity and I do understand that’s a rare circumstance and blessing for a divorced, single mother. I just can’t help but wonder how someone so financially generous can maintain such absolute selfishness? The two just don’t mesh. And my petty side, when faced with this realization over and over, wants to say, “My gosh, you are the most unbelievably selfish man I’ve ever known!” And yet, I could never in good conscience say that given the overall picture of his mostly quite generous nature, which I strive to stay grateful for and feel it’s the utmost of ingratitude to even think such a thing about him!
…there just seems to be a point though, when generosity goes beyond merely being willing to write a check to help. Or more importantly maybe it’s less about the money and more about the mutual experience and feelings involved. It’s so much easier to stay grateful toward a person who is full of gratitude in return! But a person who think his act of financial generosity is so far above and beyond anyone else’s kind gestures that he treats them as though they just don’t count…or as though they are expected…and still don’t quite make the cut of something to be grateful for…
I’m sure I sound like a spoiled brat…and perhaps I am? No, I’m not able to help many out with much money compensation or assistance(although I certainly do when I’m able), but I am that person who does any and every thing else I possibly can in order to feel I’m a helpful human being, if only generous with my time, compassion, or other things which don’t hold a price tag of any kind and therefore can never be measured by today’s materialistic standard of “generosity”. Somehow it just feels frustrating to stay grateful for every little smidgen of generosity from a person, when that person is completely oblivious to any gifts of kindness he’s been offered. Almost as though anything I could ever offer is merely expected, while anything I receive should fill me with gratitude.
I just don’t know. It isn’t that I DO things for the gratitude. I prefer to do kindness anonymously actually…but when that’s not possible and the person does know what you’ve done (or at least knows your intentions), a little gratitude goes a long way toward feeling that kindness made any difference in this world or for that person whatsoever. I think feeling like your best efforts mean nothing just sucks a lot of the momentum to make any attempt at this at all.
And at least when it’s done anonymously, one can always assume and pretend that it was indeed special and a valuable contribution to some person’s life, day, heart, etc, somewhere. Even if it’s not appreciated at all, you’re just not so acutely aware of how useless your kind intentions and attempts were.