Remember the times your parents reminded you to say “please” and “thank you?” In retrospect, that was an important lesson in manners and an invaluable lesson on life. Every favor, gift, compliment, or award, is essentially, a “favor, ”“gift,””compliment,” or “award,” not something you deserve. However, many people seem to have forgotten this. Think of the times you felt angry when your hard work did not materialize and thought to yourself, “ I should have been compensated or my hard work should have paid off.” Think of the other times when you felt depressed when things did not work out and said to yourself, “I should have done things differently, or I should have seen it coming.” Where is the golden rule that your efforts should be compensated, or that you should have a crystal ball to predict the future? Believing that you “deserve anything” not only leads to bad manners, an illusion of control, and a sense of entitlement, but also, a lot of unhappiness.
Life is unfortunately unfair and unpredictable most of the time. Oftentimes, what people fail to recognize is that everyone else is working within the same parameters of life. To count all the times that you have been mistreated or to discount laudable attempts is not only illogical; it can only serve to multiply disappointment. Further, believing that every effort is to be rewarded takes away the pleasure of a positive outcome. How can you possibly experience positive emotions for an outcome that was deserved or predetermined?
So, how can this be resolved? Instead of raising your fist at the world for not being compliant with your demands, how about accepting that life is largely unpredictable, and say, “thank you” when it decides to hand you a gift.
Next up: Kristene Doyle, Ph.D. on The Royal Wedding