“What would it be like if I could go through this holiday season without needing others to appreciate me, without needing someone to say “thank you”, without needing others to be grateful towards me?”
This was a question posed on a coaching call last week. It resonated strongly with me. In others words: “Ouch!”.
Like the rest of you, I don’t necessarily do things just to be appreciated. I don’t necessarily do things expecting a “thank you”. I don’t anticipate the glowing, “Oh my gosh, really, you shouldn’t have. It’s so beautiful; it must have taken you forever. I’ve never seen/received/been blessed with anything as thoughtful. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.” Blah, blah, blah.
I do, give, make because I want to. It gives me pleasure. It gives me satisfaction.
Yes, I have the other person in mind. I don’t offer my sister-in-law tickets to the opera. I don’t give sugar-laden goodies to Jovanna. I don’t make butter cookies for vegan Margaret. So, yes in that way it is also about the other person.
But I give because I want to. In some ways it is all about “me”!
How is it then, that when I give, I expect the other to respond according to my rules? This is a long-standing bug-bear in my family. One person – who shall remain nameless – is notorious for not saying “thank you”. Notorious for not remembering birthdays. Notorious for not noticing what others have done. The thing is, it’s not personal or specific to me. It is the way he operates in his world.
But, my rules say that you say “thank you”. MY rules say you show appreciation. MY rules say you show gratitude.
But those are MY rules. And if I try to impose them on someone else, it totally takes away my joy. It steals my satisfaction. So now I’m pissed off and I no longer have the joy of having given, and that #($*@_@ person who didn’t follow my rules is oblivious. He/she is not suffering! I AM!
So, this holiday season, I will continue to work on letting go of my expectations of needing others to play by MY rules. It’s not a matter of letting the other person off the hook. It’s a matter of letting myself off the hook: I am not hostage to rules that do not serve me. It is a gift to myself.
What gift will you give yourself this holiday season? I’d love to know.
picture from here