Have you ever done something kind for someone and not been thanked or maybe even be told off for it? This happened to me a couple of times this past fortnight and I had to remind myself of some very helpful advice I have received from Lama Marut and Cindy Lee over the years I have been studying with them. It may be a helpful reminder for you too.
What happened was I had made some meals for a relative of mine and she told me she did not want them as she had gone back to eating her favourite meals and could get them from a local food shop. Ouch, I felt hurt I had done something kind and it was rejected! Fortunately I remembered to play my kind, encouraging friend soundtrack and not the unhelpful ones.
So what did I find helpful
1. Accept the feeling - ouch, hurt happening.
NOT UNHELFUL REACTION.............
'I am so hurt and offended - this is not fair - I did a kind thing and she is unappreciative. (lots of 'I's' in there!)
AND NOT SUPPRESSION EITHER
'Oh it doesn't matter I should not be upset, my meals aren't that good anyway. I should not say anything she has been sick.
2. Kindly ask myself ....What do I need?
I need to give myself what is missing - the appreciation and thanks! So, I know it may sound a little crazy but I gave myself some kind, friendly encouragement and said 'Good on you Maree, it was kind of you to make those meals - thank you.
This helps me not to feel resentful or unappreciated. If I am able to supply the thanks that appears to have 'gone missing', I don't need to get it outside of myself and can be compassionate to my relative who is unable to be appreciative at that time. As Pema Chodron says "Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves'.
I have even embroidered 'loved and appreciated' onto my apron to remember to thank myself for my cooking efforts. This helps when I expect thanks from the family and feel resentful when it does not come or even when the response is 'I don't like Lasagna' after I have spent all afternoon making it!
Another thing I find very helpful to remember here is the principal of karma. This term is often misunderstood as a way to get what we want to as a punishment for not doing the right thing. Another way to understand karma is 'what goes around, comes around' or 'you get what you give'. So, as I understand it putting kind, positive energy out into the world will always result in some returned kindness. But the trick to remember is both.......
1. - How this kindness will be retuned is unknowable
2. - When this kindness will show up
In Buddhism they say that a kind deed or positive energy put out in the world will always result in positivity retuned. And that something unpleasant cannot come from a kindness. The converse is also true.
They say the result of action can ripen in one of three lifetimes - this lifetime, the next lifetime or any lifetime after that! Often we do a kind deed and there appears to be a gap or 'thanks gone missing', or even unkindness. This throws us for a loop, as Lama Marut would say. So, what do I do based on that?
Keep putting positive kind energy out there without expectation of immediate reward, knowing that any lack of appreciation or unkindness cannot be coming from a kind deed done. As we know kindness done will always result in kindness received we just don't know where and when. So, relax and trust kindness will definitely be returned in some way, at some time! And remember we can give that kindness and thanks to ourselves anytime!
As Aesop reminds us 'No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. The best way to receive kindness is to give it out with a kind gesture, word or smile, sharing something helpful or a well wish for someone in need. And remember to be a kind and encouraging friend to yourself too.
With love and my very best well wishes to you all