Monday, March 28, 2011

Coping with Ingratitude

Did you ever go out of your way to do a favor for someone only to have the person respond to your efforts with indifference or nastiness? People shouldn’t be so unappreciative, right? If you tell yourself this, you will probably stew for days as you mull the incident over and over. The more inflammatory your thoughts and fantasies become, the more disturbed and angry you will feel (Burns, 1999, p. 416)

If I do a good deed for another person, s/he is duty-bound to feel grateful and express that gratitude to me, right? No. Wrong. This assumption is unrealistic, unreasonable, and causes me to be upset needlessly.

It would be nice if everyone always expressed their gratitude when due, but no one has a moral or legal obligation to credit me for my good efforts and good deeds. Therefore, it is unreasonable for me to expect it or demand it.

A realistic attitude would be that: If I do a good deed for another person, s/he might be grateful, and may thank me, or praise me, or reward me. But every now and then, someone will not respond in this way. And, if their response is unreasonable, that is a reflection of their character, not mine. So, I should not get upset.

David D. Burns – Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

No comments:

Post a Comment