BY SHARON VAN ARNEMAN
Ingratitude. Which of us hasn’t experienced it?! The grandchildren who do not understand that money doesn’t grow on trees; The adult son who constantly asks for more and more, unmoved by the dwindling resources of his aging parents; The friend who is seldom around when you need her, but demands that you be there for her every single time, no matter what other commitment you may have; The partner who is perfectly contented to have you do all the giving while he does all the taking; The boss who capitalizes on that one teeny-tiny mistake, but overlooks all the extra work you regularly do for the company for free; The parents who expect their adult daughter, who herself is struggling to make ends meet, to give them money on demand, even when they are well able to support themselves; The clergyman who never expresses thanks for anything his parishioners do for him; The dad who you cannot please no matter how hard you try; The wife who can’t see past her devoted husband’s flaws; The office manager who never notices when you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty; The children who show no appreciation for anything their parents do for them.
Trying to deal with people, who behave as if you and everyone else owe them, can feel very disheartening. Self-entitled people who have an over-exaggerated sense of self-importance that makes them believe life owes them something – these are people who think nothing of making unrealistic demands of you without ever considering what it may cost you or how inconvenient it may be to you. As a matter of fact, they like to act as if they are somehow deserving of your help so they don’t have to thank you for it. Of all the negative traits I don’t want in my life, ingratitude ranks right there at the top; but I am cognizant that far more often than we’d care to admit, ungratefulness is something that rears its ugly head in the most thankful of us. Manifesting itself in a myriad of ways, it may show up in a bitter attitude, a lack of appreciation or even a show of pride. It may also come disguised as grumbling and complaining, jealousy and anger, immaturity and self-centredness – but always at the root of it all is ingratitude. And none of us likes to be on the receiving end of it.
When people take us for granted and show little to no appreciation for what we do for them, it can crush our spirits and deal a blow to our morale; but the opposite is true when we meet grateful people. There’s not a person around who isn’t pleased to receive genuine thanks for helping somebody – and I’m not talking here about feeling proud or looking for praise, or doing good just to get a pat on the back. No. What I’m saying is that when you’ve gone out of your way to bless somebody – especially if it’s something you put a lot of thought into – and then that person expresses sincere thanks to you, it naturally warms your heart and makes you feel so glad that you were able to make a difference in that person’s life. That’s why we constantly have to check in with ourselves to make sure we do not become complacent about expressing our gratitude to God for His countless blessings, and saying thank you to those about us, who reach out to us in any number of ways.
To contact Sharon,
write to P.O. Box 484,
Philipsburg, St. Maarten,