The Truth Behind Giving
Have you ever done a good dead only to find the recipient totally ungrateful?
Yep me too and it’s made me think about the purpose of doing something that you think is helping someone out only to be left scratching your had wondering what went wrong.
I want to share a story about when I was perceived as ungrateful.
Many years ago, back in my youth when I was still in active addiction I met a man and our souls connected, despite the lifestyle we lived we had a depth of love that transcended all of that and we decided we had to marry, this wasn’t about glitz and glamour this was about connection, pure and untainted connection so we booked the registrar and continued life as normal.
There wasn’t much discussion if I’m honest, it wasn’t about anyone else it was about us and love so there was no arranging, no invites, no flowers to arrange or dress to buy, we simply wanted to rock up and make it official.
A month before the date I realised that if we went ahead and got married without telling anyone, there might be some upset people in the family so I made a phone call to let one of my sisters know that I was going to be getting married.
Before I had time to blink the show was taken over. It was decided for me that I couldn’t just get married, that wasn’t the done thing, so my sisters got together with my dad, who provided some funds which I wasn’t allowed to touch as I couldn’t be trusted, and I was escorted around shops to find a dress then flowers etc until there was an event planned and catered for.
The night before my house was filled with well meaning sisters, cooking and decorating and making everything presentable.
I went to bed with a vodka.
This who I was, I didn’t care about any of these things but I knew they did so I let them get on with it, if that’s what made them happy then who was I to interfere and tell them to fuck off. I went along with it because it appeared to mean so much to them, the important things on my mind were getting married and making the life changing decision that I would not walk down the aisle on drugs, so the eve of my wedding day was spent mentally preparing myself for a life of sobriety. This was far more important to me than how many vol au vents needed cooking.
I was about to embark on a whole new way of life that transcended the trivialities of external expectations and presentation and one that would demand all my energy and then some.
Was I was ungrateful? I can tell you that no, I wasn’t ungrateful, it was just meaningless to me but I understood how important it was for my family so I went along with things because it made them happy to give in a way they thought was helping and I wanted them to be happy just as they wanted me to be.
I thought that was the end of it until many years later when it was suggested to me that I was ungrateful, ‘after all they did for me’!
Now here’s my point, when we help people, are we really?
What is driving your good deed?
Are you giving unconditionally or are you trying to fulfil a need inside of yourself to contribute and feel valuable and validated?
Is it helpful if the recipient of your good deed isn’t in receiving mode or are you exerting your goodwill upon them for alternative and internal reasons?
If you give without expectation what makes you aggrieved when the recipient doesn’t appear to meet your expectations for gratitude?
I’ve been in the position of feeling hurt when I’ve put myself out to help someone and feel they haven’t appeared grateful, but that is entirely based on my own perception. Using the example above has taught me not to assume what others are thinking or feeling, I don’t always get it right but it helps my growth, it also offers me a chance to choose to open up an honest conversation and get to know the people around me.
Looking at all these things is an opportunity for you to understand yourself on a deeper level.
It’s not about guilt or shame but an awareness of what drives your actions, what’s important to you and how you communicate with the people in your life.
Raising your awareness of self gives you a powerful tool for life!
Playing devils advocate when thinking about the experience I shared above should I have shown more gratitude for what they did or should they have shown more gratitude for me standing aside and allowing them to feel good about themselves?
There is no absolute truth only the truth of perception and that is as individual as each of us are.
I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this?
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