What is appreciation

Do you go out of your way for others?  Do you feel like you’re always trying to do what’s best for people besides yourself?  And when you do so, do you feel like no one is genuinely thankful?

It’s more common than you think.  In fact, I’d say almost every person has at some point felt underappreciated in their life at one time or another.  We use up our valuable resources- time, money, feelings- all for someone else who doesn’t even seem to care.  So why do we do it?

Well for one, it’s sort of instinct.  We often do for others what we wish someone would do for ourselves.  Whether it’s someone close to us, or a total stranger- we’ve all encountered a situation where we feel like we need to help someone out.  We do it because, believe it or not, giving to others makes us feel good inside.  The bad only comes when the person you helped doesn’t appear to be as thankful as you would have hoped- sometimes not thankful at all.  But what we have to understand is that some people don’t respond to kind deeds in the same way you would.  There’s a reason why you act happy when you open up a present you don’t actually like or have a use for.  You want to show the person who gave it to you that you appreciate their kindness.

What I believe is that the world we live in lacks greatly in appreciation.  Why should people continue to help others when they hardly receive a thank you in return?  It’s a tough question to answer in any other way besides “We shouldn’t.”  But think about it like this- if you know you did the right thing in helping someone else, doesn’t it make you feel good about yourself anyway?  Even if they don’t appear thankful, you still know that according to your morals you did a good deed.  And that’s why we must continue to give even without appreciation.

The other day I was in some backed up traffic and was thinking “this sucks.”  I look to my right at the intersection beside me and see a few cars stuck there.  I realize they have it a bit rougher than me at the moment and probably have no chance of turning anytime in the near future.  So what do I do?  I keep my foot on the break for a moment longer so one of the guys had a chance to get on the road.  The man didn’t wave or anything to show any indication of appreciation for the time I had just saved him.  But hey, I still felt like I had assisted another individual and by doing so I felt better about myself.  And that was enough for me.

Obviously there are more examples on a larger scale with what I’m talking about.  But the point remains the same- continue to do the small, and big, things for other people.  And when someone does something they had to go out of there way to do for your benefit- show some appreciation.  They’ll be more likely to do it again for you or someone else, and you might be inspired to perform your own acts of kindness in the future.  It’ll make the world a better place- and what’s the downside in that?

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