Gratitude is the Best Attitude
We all TAKE help sometimes and we all GIVE help sometimes. That is just the way life works. Also, some people like it when they take and some people like it when they give. That is just how people are.
When we need something and someone helps us by offering it to us, we are happy. Some people give when we ask them for it, and some people give unasked. In either case, some givers are happy but all the receivers are happy. And typically normal human beings will automatically feel a sentiment called “gratitude” when someone, a family member, a friend or even a stranger, does a good deed for them or helps them in some way. It is a norm in society and human nature that the receiver should have this feeling towards the giver. That is just the way the law of nature works. As far as those who help others, I feel certain about one thing: the benefit of giving help to others will never be lost from us. No one can take it away from us. Good will come to us, no matter how the receiver behaves.
Gratitude is felt in the mind of the receiver. But how it is expressed varies from person to person. Some people reveal their gratitude profusely by words, tears, embraces, mentioning it to others etc. Others may express it deeply in their hearts by blessing the giver and his family, by offering to help back in any way they can or just by being their true friend quietly. Some may write a “Thank You” note.
To be grateful is necessary. But in life, often we see the word “ingrate” or “ungrateful” or “unthankful” being used. Even though there are proverbs and sayings in every language about the importance of gratitude, it is not practised by some people.
I can only guess that they probably think that they are inferior to the giver because they had to accept their help. They want help, but don’t want to admit that they accepted help. Their pride does not allow them to accept it. But the truth is, we all need help sometime or other. So it is okay to get help. Besides, helping someone is to “Pay Forward”. In other words, if A helps B, it does not mean that B will get a situation to help A. In real life, if A helps B, B may help C, and C may help D and so on until Z, and then Z may help A!! So at some point of time, everyone would have given as well as received!
One thing though, let’s face it, the giver can be an obnoxious, arrogant person who can make the life of the receiver miserable. So the receiver who is compelled by circumstances to have to accept help, loathes the giver. Even saying a simple “Thank You” is difficult, much less feeling grateful for that person! It is quite understandable. It is most unpleasant to deal with this kind of giver. We should learn to ignore them as much as possible and brush aside their meanness.
So, in these situations, it is alright to be ungrateful, right? I don’t think so. Each person acts according to his or her nature. We have to do the right thing according to what we feel is right and wrong. We cannot rationalize and make a decision based on other people’s nature.
There is a simple formula to decide whether to be grateful or not, to any giver, nice or mean. Suppose the roles were reversed, we gave to someone and someone received from us, how would we like them to behave? Would we like it if they were ungrateful? Would we excuse them if they stabbed us in the back? Now there is our answer. No, we won’t like it. We may tolerate it, and those who are bighearted may even forgive them, but we won’t like it. On the contrary, we would like them to appreciate what we did for them and be our true friends forever. So, this is what we have to do to those who help us.
By the way, this formula applies pretty much to every thing in life. “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.” No double standards. If we try to practise this one rule in life, not only will we be happy, but the whole world will be a wonderful world of joy and happiness!
In the case of those who give also, there is big responsibility of how to behave. When we are put in a situation to help someone, we should be grateful that we have been placed in a situation to do so. We should think of it as an honor and grace of God that such an opportunity is given to us, because what we give comes back to us with interest, one way or the other. We should treat people who accept help from us with respect and kindness. We should not make them feel bad. This makes us better people.
And we should not expect anything from them. Sometimes a trying situation or a dispute may come up where we expect them to take our side because they are indebted to us. It is better that we do not put them on the spot at those times. We should leave the decision to them. To put a yoke on their shoulders is the worst way to offer help to others.
The conclusion is that both the Giver and the Receiver should learn to be responsible and behave in a proper, humane way as per social norm, ethics and good conduct. We are all in this life together. Why not treat each other compassionately?