Holidays are rough. Very rough…and challenging…without Narcissism. The added stress of traveling, cooking, planning, shopping, etc. doesn’t get easier with N. I was in denial that they were coming up but I was quickly reminded after Halloween by all the Facebook posts. I have been reading what my friends have been Thankful for each day of November on their Facebook posts. And I started to reflect on the feeling of having gratitude, being grateful and the moments we say ‘Thank you’ to each other.
To give thanks.
What does it mean? What does it sound like? What does it read like? And I realized 2 things:
- that gratitude tends to be noticed more when there is a lack thereof.
I thought, how strange, and then I thought I am guilty of noticing it when it isn’t said to me…when (I admit) I expect a ‘Thank You’. If the ‘Thank You’ had been said to me then I probably wouldn’t have given a second thought. And I felt that maybe it was not fair to expect it…but rather hope for it?
Someone pointed out my lack of gratitude recently. In October I had a new friend (recently married to a member of my FOC – Family of Choice) stay at my home and she kept, repeatedly, pointing out that I should be thankful for the fact that I live abroad and get to travel, etc. She was telling me all things I should be grateful for…repeatedly. And I was wondering if I had to say something to get her to stop. And after the 85th time…I said, ‘we are grateful for it everyday’. She shut up (for the time being). What was funny was that I didn’t respond to her 84 other comments and it bothered her…because she perceived the fact that ‘I didn’t shout out from the rooftops (or post on Facebook) how grateful we are’ as being ungrateful (isn’t that some sort of fallacy?). I didn’t respond to the 84 comments because I know that we are grateful. And we don’t shout it out. I had realized that my response to her was not out of gratitude but out of a way to shut her up.
Well, it made me realize that gratitude is personal and active to me. It means that I chose to be grateful by my actions. If it means saying it to someone…then that is active but if I am grateful for what I have my actions don’t include streaming it out on Facebook or Twitter. It is about actively taking the things we have not for granted. There is no visibility in this ‘type’ of gratitude. So I began to wonder…is gratitude defined by the number of people who hear us say/write it. And if so, are we saying it just to be heard rather than to express gratitude.
The second realization I had was:
- I am grateful for Ns, to my mother with NPD.
The blog post by Elisse Stuart’s Blog (click here) recently says it all. Being grateful for something so ugly like N only makes you appreciate the beauty in everything else. The essence of the N is to make everything ugly. Isn’t that what they do? We know they do. They make others look bad so they feel better. They want to take and take without giving. But, us, fellow readers and bloggers, seeing it, living with it, hearing it, feeling it makes us only that more aware and grateful for all the beauty that there is. All the beauty in life that the N cannot see, hear, feel, tough or be.
I’ll admit it is the ‘realization’ of N that I am grateful for but without having had an NM or N friends it would be impossible to have had this ‘realization’. So yes, in fact, I am grateful to them for allowing me to realize what it is. Allowing me to change my behaviors and allowing me to recover so I won’t pass on the legacy to my children.
Season’s Greetings! Wishing you a healthy (physically and emotionally) end to 2011 and New Year!