One of the deep secrets in life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.
– Lewis Carroll
It is such an honor and an absolute TREAT to escort Gloria Steinem during the 10th annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference. She is a person I have always respected and admired, and it was a thrill to meet her and realize first-hand what a wonderful and inspiring woman she is.
During her Friday morning talk, when a member of the audience asked her about her perspective on the new generations of women who might not be aware of the importance of feminism and equality; Gloria gave her a thoughtful and detailed answer, finishing with the following sentence: Young women need to get mad for themselves; and we (i.e. old-school feminists) need to stop expecting gratitude from them. A unanimous applause came afterwards, of course.
This made me think about how many times we end up disappointed or discouraged because we don’t receive the appreciation we expected from others for things we did for them. We’re used to unconsciously expect something back from others: a smile, a word, or sometimes even other things. When we don’t receive what we expect in return for our good actions, we may even feel angry; taken for granted.
The reason why we do things should always be just because we want to do them; because they feel right or because they will contribute to the higher good; particularly if our actions benefit other people for many generations to come. There should be no strings attached to our egos.
Doing the right thing, the noble thing; brings peace to our souls and comfort to our hearts. We can rejoice in the small role we played to change things for the better; or the part we had in improving someone else’s life. That’s the reward in itself. Don’t you agree?
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