My father talks often regarding the idea of sincerity and gratitude. The other day he commented on a remark from a member of his nursing staff, “You must have good common sense,” she told me, as I cleared the way for his Lunch.
“It is the skill of appreciation and gratitude for others that will cause you to excel,”
I often wonder if that is the case. Is success really primarily a calm and accepting personality? Or is there more to it, an underlying construct that is framed by the ability to show honest respect? Often it is remarked as “common sense,”. If this is true, why is it so rare? How can we claim it is common if it is so hard to acquire? As I ponder this, a quote finds its way along my Twitter feed. “It is not so much our friends help that helps us, as the confident knowledge that they will help us,” – Epicurus. I had mentioned this entry to Natasha, and told her the following; The reason your gratitude for something as simple as helping you fix a small car issue is so interesting to me, is because of the expression of thanks. Quiet and reserved, as if you have been taught all your life to be wary of expressing it. Lombardo does the same thing, she will occasionally [and] suddenly, say, “Thank you, for everything,” out of context or as we pass in the hall. Recently she mailed me a card from Do Space [a library she works for] to tell me she appreciated all I’ve don’t for her.
It’s these quiet and romanticized sense of thanks that are so interesting to me. I also catch myself forcing a thank you when it’s [seemingly] appropriate and my family rarely seems to say phrases of love or thanks aloud. I’ve only heard my parents say they are proud of me [aloud] a handful of times, and I wonder the impact this has had on my life and mind. What parts of our culture and Lifestyle are so ingrained in us that gratitude is embarrassing? Is it the same reason men cannot show weakness? Or the struggle for equality for woman and people of color?
Is there a fear that by acknowledging or accepting aid we have shown a weakness? If this is the case, then I ponder the state of the “American Dream,”. The attitude of self reliance and homestead vigilance. I wonder if it is possible to create a space to remove that bias. Help shouldn’t be seen as admit of defeat, it should be seen as an acceptance of study. To fail is to learn, to learn is to grow and growing becomes independence.