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Don't Expect Gratitude

"Generally speaking, when we are too desirous of something in life, we’re less likely to attain it. Success seems to increase in direct proportion to the diminution of our desires. The same logic applies to our need for recognition. We might want to be appreciated and respected, but we have only a limited ability to influence how other people respond and we can’t make somebody show us gratitude any more than we can force someone to love us. If we show love without expecting it to be reciprocated, we will have more chance of finding love than if we simply yearn for it. Likewise, doing something without expecting gratitude is more likely to elicit appreciation for what we do. Whether someone can acknowledge our actions or not should be no concern of ours.

We simply commit ourselves to doing things to the best of our ability and in as thorough a manner as possible without sloppiness. We should never think that other people are indebted to us or obligated to help us in return. We should simply do things because we love doing them, not because we want other people to feel indebted to us. Shantideva says:

The work of bringing benefit to beings
Will not, then, make me proud and self-admiring.
The happiness of others is itself my satisfaction;
I do not expect another recompense.

-- The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind by Traleg Kyabgon, page 229

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