How often have you felt annoyed that your efforts to please another person weren’t appreciated? Perhaps you offered to help someone move house only to receive little thanks at the end of the day. Maybe you spend hours dreaming up fabulous meals to cook for a partner who’d be happier eating meat and three veg. Or perhaps you go above and beyond your role as a parent by driving your children and their friends all over town, buying presents for their friends when they earn their own money, or volunteering to tutor your child for their upcoming exams while trying to ignore their glazed eyes..
When we feel unappreciated, resentment builds up. In an argument, out comes the list of things we have done for the other person without any thanks. It can be infuriating when our partner or child points out that they didn’t ask for help in the first place. Hold on a second?? What?? Oh yes, that’s right – I offered. But shouldn’t we still receive thanks when we do a good deed? Shouldn’t our efforts be rewarded? Most people say that they don’t help others to get the thanks, but it’s amazing how often we forget this fact.
For everybody’s sake it would be good if we all tried to:
- Give without the need for thanks
- Consider who we’re giving what to – does this person really want what I’m offering?
- And remember to thank others for their effort even if we didn’t ask them for it
Altruism increases our own level of happiness by giving us a sense of meaning and purpose. We don’t need thanks to feel good about being charitable. But we shouldn’t martyr ourselves by being everything to everyone only to end up feeling used.