What's the point in being nice and giving when you don't get anything positive in return? What's the point in giving to someone who doesn't appreciate it, or that might backstab you, or that might be dishonest?
As I sat at the dinner table this evening on Mother's Day supper with my entire family, this discussion arose. We discussed how one can be so generous, so giving, but not get the appreciation they deserve in return, to get backstabbed, to get a complete opposite reaction. For a while now, this behavior is something I analyze and critique on a regular basis. But I learned a lot sitting at that table listening to everyone's idea on how we should cope with being disappointed with others and I hope that in future I can put these ideas into practice.
One important point that was mentioned in this discussion is to look at every experience as a positive one. Don't get me wrong, I know that this can be a totally difficult thing to do. But that friend that backstabbed you or the one that didn't act as you would have expected, well look at it positively. What did you learn from it? We'll say you went out of your way for a friend's bday, you bought her cake, a gift, invited their friends and really made the event an amazing one. In return, that person doesn't show up at your birthday, giving some stupid excuse and you're disappointed that that person didn't go out of their way to be there for you. This is a small example but gives you the idea of what I'm saying. You can probably adapt it to many situations you lived through with friends or family. How to see this positively? Well, you learned that throwing big parties for this person is probably not a good idea. You learned how to act next time around and that from this experience you are now more knowledgeable and instead of putting all this energy on this individual, you will do something different next year, probably just get a card or be present at their birthday. Or you can continue to do what you do, but know that you probably won't get the same in return. You learn to not expect from others what you would expect from yourself.
I put that last sentence in bold because that's the main message I guess I learned from these discussions. All experiences are positive because we learn and we learn that not everyone will act as we think they might. The problem that comes with this is if we are willing to still interact with the people that wouldn't act as we would. Well that my friends is something you need to decide on your own. If you are willing to accept the person as they are, with these faults, if your relationship goes beyond these acts as disappointments and that you can look beyond these issues, then instead of being unhappy, you should accept and move on. Acceptance is the hardest thing to do because it usually goes against what you believe in.
Now what does this mean? To stop being generous and giving? No not at all. It means to not be generous and giving blindly. To act in consequence of those you are acting for. Instead of searching for appreciation in others, we should search for appreciation in ourselves. Knowing that we are a good and kind person without anyone telling us we are is key. We shouldn't need someone else's approval to tell us we are great. We should know we are great on our own. Searching for that approval will only bring disappointment. For so long have I looked for approval in others, to make sure I was always doing the right thing so others would think I'm a good person. I shouldn't need others to approve me. I need to approve me. As I say all this, I know that I'm far from perfect and that, I will also try to put these into practice because me too, I get easily disappointed by others' behavior.
So what do you think? Do you think we should continue to be good and generous? Or should we be more selfish? What is the right way to be? Is there a right way? I would love some of your insight on the subject.
Until then, as my last words of wisdom, when kind and generous, be smart. Not everyone will appreciate, not everyone will act as you think. We need to stop expecting others to be as we are, and accept them for who they are, or start looking for new people who will appreciate all the goodness we can give...The choice is yours...
Have a nice evening!