An attitude of gratitude. I have heard that is the key to happiness. To be grateful for all that you have and all those in your life. Grateful for the things that happen and grateful for those that do not happen.
Lately, I have noticed that I have been giving and doing a lot for a lot of different people, but never hear a thank you in response. It is starting to make me feel a little less than appreciated, and I am wondering why I do what I do – give, give, give. I am forced to re-evaluate why I am doing and giving. Is it just for the thanks or the feel good that I expect to receive from the appreciation shown?
My brother once told me that there is no such thing as true altruism. We all, as human beings, gain some sort of satisfaction from giving. We just can’t help it. I guess the key is that we are to give without expectations. No ulterior motives. No waiting to hear the words, “Thank you,” or to hear that your action/gift/good deed was appreciated.
I look up the definition of altruism and find in the Concise Encyclopedia:
Ethical theory that regards the good of others as the end of moral action; by extension, the disposition to take the good of others as an end in itself. The term (French, altruisme, derived from Latin alter: “other”) was coined in the 19th century by Auguste Comte and adopted generally as a convenient antithesis to egoism. Most altruists have held that each person has an obligation to further the pleasures and alleviate the pains of other people. The same argument holds if happiness, rather than pleasure, is taken as the end of life.
Having read that, I realize that the motivation to improve the world is the key. Avoiding the ego. Going to the heart.
That being said, I guess I need to stop stewing over the many people that have shown no appreciation or gratitude for the gifts I have bestowed, or the favors I have given without request. Just knowing that I have contributed to the positive energy in the world is enough. Thinking of it that way feels a lot more powerful. And while I am at it, I can be grateful for the ability and the means to do the things and give the things that I do.