Develop yourself to the best of your ability
Gratitude is intellectually compelling, and it is a very good trait – so why are we so often ungrateful? There are two reasons for this. The first is that a person’s first impression is that everything comes by itself, and that is all coming to him. The other reason is; when I receive good from someone and I recognize that good, I became indebted to him.
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe
Everything comes by itself
When we think that, we ignore the hand that gives. That may be the hand of our neighbor and that may be the hand of G-d. We take without thinking who it comes from.
Yet it is 1 of the things we teach children at an early age. “What do you say?”… we ask when the child receives something from someone.
When we are born, we come with nothing, everything we have, we get. So, for everything we are supposed to say “neatly” thank you. Everything is really everything, health, nice weather, food, friends, help. You thank your friends, you thank G-d.
How easily the latter comes to me in prayer or with Noahide or Jewish friends. How incredibly difficult I find that to do with the other people around me. It’s a threshold of shame that I just can’t seem to get myself over. They won’t understand, they’ll think it’s stupid…shouldn’t I just be above that. I will thank G-d, if I manage to thank Him publicly when I feel it in my heart, and my mouth manages to pronounce it.
The feeling of having to do something good in return or give something back. Why can that make us feel bad. On the contrary, it should give us joy to be able to give something back to another person.
Could the underlying reason be selfishness? We want to decide for ourselves whether to give something to another, in a way that suits us, at a time that suits us instead of responding to the needs that a person has. When we recognize that we want to change this trait, we must focus precisely on generosity. Even if it feels uncomfortable, or you’d rather not. Try to do an act of generosity every day, make this attribute develop in you more and more.
Sometimes our ego leads us to give something to others, not because we are generous, but because we want others to thank us, because we want others to be in our debt. That’s not giving, that’s bribing. This is inflating our ego, this is pride. We must then practice our attribute of humility. You could do that by reflecting on your own behavior at the end of the day. Have you given others enough space others and seen that their ideas, actions, words are good. Did you let them know that? If not, that might be a good start to a new conversation when you meet them.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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