Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can Gratitude be an Expectation

Gratitude is the act of being thankful or appreciative of someone or something. "I am grateful for the kindness bestowed upon me by those closest to me", is an example of an exression of gratitude. Personally, I am grateful for many things and try to keep a mental list going at all times. Sometimes adding and sometimes subtracting depending on what's going on in my life.

While me being grateful toward the people or circumstances surrounding me seems natural. At what point should I expect gratitude to come back to me from others. I guess it is a selfish thought. My acts of kindness or hard work should simply be tied to my desire to meet a deadline, make someone happy or just do something for someone else because I want to. However, after I do something that is a bit heroic and instead of getting a thanks I get a comment directed at the expense of my services....I get a little pissed.

In my work place we are consistently asked to perform within extremely tight deadlines. Alright, you guessed it, I'm just going to go on a rant, but sometimes when you can't express your rant to the person who deserves it, you have to go somewhere with it, so just suck it up and read. Or stop now and go on to the next blog. Neener. At least I'm grateful I have this blog to post and dump some pent up frustrations. Life can't all be flowers and blue skies you know.

Alright, so I redo a client's artwork, output perfect graphics and meet an overnight shipping deadline all in less than 24 hours and what I get is "You guys are expensive." Not "Wow, you did exactly what we wanted in the short time frame you were given and made me look like a hero to my boss." No. I get that I'm too expensive. Personally, I thought there was value in my performance and my product. Since when does an uneducated, snotty, twenty something get the nerve to belittle my performance. It makes me ill.

But then again, do I really have the right to expect gratitude? That is the core question here. Am I just setting myself up for disappointment? And the answer is......obvious. Of course I am. I really can't expect people to be grateful for my actions. Does this mean I should keep piling up the brick and mortar to keep people out and the pain of disappointment to a minimum? No. That only creates more problems and eventually makes me that skeptical old curmudgeon Walt Kowalsi, Clint Eastwood played in Gran Torino. If there is one thing that is certain, I don't want to be the Walt Kowalski that appears in the beginning of the movie.

So, I give myself permission to get a little pissed, vent, get on with my day and be grateful for the positives in my life. My wife. My children. My health. I have a job. My car is paid for. The skies are blue and the sun is shining. Best of all, I have the ability to keep a smile on my face and share my gratitude.

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