Recently I’ve found it more and more difficult to accept thanks for anything that I do. It’s almost as if a thanks is a question of my own virtue, as if saying thank you is to say I was asking for thanks for a good deed done for the common benefit.
“You bought me a coffee how much to do I owe you?” – X
“Nothing. I got myself one too.” – Z
“Thanks but I’d feel better if you let me give you money.” – X
“That’s not necessary.” – Z
And so on and so on.
Have we become so entrenched in a culture of expecting things to be bought and paid for that acts of random virtue or kindness is that alien? This argument, by the way went on for 20 minutes and ended up with me losing and receiving an ok meal deal sandwich and a coke. It’s becoming more and more painful each time.
Why is this? Is this my own virtue being threatened by the perception of lies or the idea that my motives are anything other than mindless goodwill? Is that pride? A prideful arrogance that someone may dare question this new found virtue. Don’t thank me.
Appreciation is different. I think appreciation is an act not verbosity. Is that what I’m looking for? To be appreciated? If so does that make me a hypocrite to ask not to be thanked?
“Thank you for listening to me.” – Y
“Don’t mention it, I’m here for you.” – Z
“Seriously, thank you.” – Y
Lovely, but pointless. I am not moved by the thanks and I would have listened to the person’s story and advised them the best I can regardless. Why? Because I am a stoic on the Path and surely that’s the proper thing to do for the benefit of the whole and within my nature. Is it not in everyone’s best interest?
Live in a thankless world and be good with it. I am. It’s a world of unreciprocated goodness. A world where I can do something for someone and not expect a bad sandwich in return. Not even money as then what does that make me? Someone who must receive in order to give? It’s not like I’m broke nor am I rich in either money or time. I have exactly what I need to help where I can and act virtuously in all I can.
“Thanks for helping, I really am thankful.” – X
“An hour of my time is not like I’m giving you a kidney. If it was a kidney, a beer would probably make up for it.” – Z
Live without thanks. Unless it’s a kidney or a liver or a heart. Even then, let’s settle with some Hop House 13 and move on. You are an individual, your currency is your own virtue. This post is light on quotes from philosophers because perhaps this is less about what they expect and more about what I expect from myself – what we expect from ourselves.