Posted by: Beverly Davidson, LMSW | November 27, 2013

Taking people for granted

In a couple of days it will be Thanksgiving and many of us will be gathered together with friends and family giving thanks for all that we have – family, friends, food, material goods, and our health. This year I have been thinking about what I am grateful for, and the list is long. However, I realized I needed to pay special attention to those relationships in my life that I may have taken for granted. Perhaps this first step of recognition will assist me in changing my approach to pay more attention all year long to those that I love all instead of just focusing on thankfulness during one season of the year. I’m sure many of us can think about the people in our lives we have unintentionally forgotten – the friend who is always there no matter what and who never asks for help, or the friend who is always happy and able to cheer you up……the teacher who went the extra mile for our child….the colleague who is always there to lend a helping hand…..the check-out person who looked us in the eye, smiled, and gave us the sale price that begins the next day; and, even our children for always knowing when to be funny and make us laugh. It is so easy to ignore the people in life who are loyal, steadfast, sturdy and just always there. They are always in our corner, and never complain about our faults. They are easy to take advantage of because they don’t “need” or “request” as much of us as others may do. I have to remind myself that they, too, have needs, and I should pay attention, slow down, and say thank you for all that they do for me, and for the world. Sometimes just being noticed and thanked can sustain a person for months. I, we, need to do more of this and practice gratitude towards the people in our lives who love and care for us. In our multi-tasking, consumption-oriented and fast-paced world we tend to lose sight of our relational connections. It is easy to “post,” “text,” and “tweet” to one another, and sometimes that is all we can do…at times they are truly wonderful ways to communicate. However, the old-fashioned phone call to say “Happy Birthday” and the hand-held, hand-written thank-you card received in the mail says so much about how the person calling or sending thinks about the person who receives it. Our culture, and subsequently we as a people, take these ways of connecting, and our relationships for granted way too much – and people are lonely and hurting because of it.

I am thankful for my house, my car, my “stuff.” I am thankful for my job and the fact that I can provide more than enough for my family. But I am most thankful for the people I have in my life who care for me, sustain me, love me, and help me be a better person. I know that when I am overwhelmed with life, work, parenting, and “stuff,” I want less connection, until I reach out to someone who understands and then I remember it is the being seen and heard by someone that gets me through. I think we all could use less “stuff” and more connection, and that I/we cannot take “our people” for granted any longer.

I thought of all the people I may not have offered a kindness to lately, or who I may have taken for granted. With that in mind, here is the start of my gratitude to others that I hope I can continue throughout the year: To my child’s teacher who has unwavering patience and compassion to all of the children she teaches and guides, even in the midst of budget cuts and constant pressure on our educational system to do more. To my child’s daycare provider who absolutely loves each and every child she cares for unconditionally and makes them feel special each and every day. To my beloved social work and early childhood colleagues who are dedicated and loyal public servants, who keep knocking on doors when no one is home or when they don’t want you there, who help our smallest and most vulnerable children develop and thrive, and who continue to battle through bureaucracy and social inequality at its very core. To my clients who teach me everyday what it means to be resilient and brave in the face of extreme powerlessness. To the people in the world who are grappling with unrelenting terror or sadness as they teach me what it is like to hang on to hope when it seems like there is none. To my beloved friends who have known me through many changes in my life and who continue to love and support me no matter what. To my friends who I do not see or talk to much because of distance or life circumstance, I am touched by our ability to reconnect even with so much time and space in between. To my spouse, who has taught me the power of laughter and love and whose embrace continues to get through to me even in my darkest moments. To my children, who teach me everyday to be patient, kind, loving and flexible, and who have shown me how much they unconditionally love me in spite of my worst parenting moments.

As I write this, I can see clearly that even through the trials and tribulations life brings, I have been blessed with knowing kind-hearted and compassionate people who have helped me get through. Life is hard, love is stronger. Thank you.

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Responses

  1. Thanks Bev. So beautifully expressed. You are a Light in this world.
    thank you. I have great gratitude for you, and honor your path in this life.
    love to you my friend
    jeanne


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