I like to think of myself as a kind person, because I usually go out of my way to do stuff for people. Most of the time, I do them without expecting anything in return or at least I thought I did. This has most times led me to frustration. Especially when people don’t appreciate what I have done for them, or take my acts of kindness for granted.
Sometimes when people don’t appreciate my efforts, I question my whole entire existence, which usually leads me to feeling unappreciated, unwanted and unworthy. I sometimes even get angry at God out of failure to understand why He tells us to be kind to people who clearly can’t even have the courtesy to say thank you for the act of kindness or at least appreciate the effort. I had one such experience recently. I went out of my way to do something nice for someone who by the way didn't even ask for what I was doing for them and as usual, when I didn't get the desired and expected sense of gratitude for my act of kindness, I almost threw a fit. It had actually become a thorn in my flesh, but as I was going about my usual routine of reading a chapter a day, I read something that put everything in perspective.
I've been reading a book titled “Don’t sweat the small stuff” by Richard Carlson, P.H.D and If you have known me for a long time, then you probably know that I am the queen of overreacting. Like seriously, it’s like second nature to me. Then again, if you've been around me lately, you have probably noticed that my overreacting meter has been on hiatus. Thanks to this book. It’s the real deal but, that’s not what this post is about.
Back to my act of kindness struggles… I was reading the book and came across this chapter entitled: DO A FAVOR AND DON’T ASK FOR, OR EXPECT, ONE IN RETURN. I had an epiphany; and suddenly I realized I had it wrong all along. All this while, instead of getting worked up because someone didn't say thank you, I could have just been rejoicing in the fact that I have been blessed enough to bless others with my kindness and that alone should be enough. The book goes on to say “It’s almost as if we keep score of our own good deeds rather than remembering that giving is its own reward”. I guess that’s why they say God loves a cheerful giver, because we should get our reward from the act of giving rather than from the appreciation of the act. I've been doing it wrong this whole time because I gave and expected to be thanked, or at the very least get some kind of acknowledgement that the person was grateful to me for my kindness and thoughtfulness, and that’s why instead of being happy it’s brought me frustration.
People won’t always appreciate your efforts, your kindness or your love. It doesn't mean you should stop loving or stop being kind to them. When God blesses you, you must share in His blessings by blessing others. Don’t let the ungrateful people drag you down with them. Don’t become bitter or frustrated like I would, or let their darkness cloud your light. I have come to understand that instead, you should let your light shine on their darkness. They need it. Broken people spread hurt, bitterness and resentment, happy people spread love, kindness and good cheer because it comes as second nature. So don’t get discouraged when you feel like your kindness has hit a brick wall. After all, it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Remember, people won’t always receive your love, love anyway. People won’t always be grateful for your giving or sharing with them, give and share anyway. People won’t always appreciate your kindness or be kind in return, be kind anyway.
Remember that your reward is the feeling you receive in knowing that you participated in an act of kindness. You don’t need something in return or even a “thank you”.
So go ahead, do something nice for someone and don’t expect anything in return. Be kind anyway….