Cake and Gratitude
How saying thank you could change your life.
I have always loved baking and creating sweet treats. I believe I am something of an alchemist with chocolate (especially hot-fudge icing) and I derive huge satisfaction out of baking birthday cakes for my friends and family.
And I recently figured out why I love baking so much.
It’s because I enjoy making something that I know everyone is going to like.
I used to love cooking when I lived in a house with seven people (who were always hungry) but now that I just cook for myself and my two kids I hate cooking! And I here is why: It’s because no one likes the same things, so no matter what I do, someone is always unhappy with my efforts. When I cooked for seven people I made huge pots of vegetarian stew most nights, but I loved doing it, because the pot was always scraped clean by hungry people.
In the same way I love doing other peoples dishes in their homes but hate doing my own. It has very little to do with dishes (or cooking) and a lot to do with knowing that my efforts are appreciated.
When I was writing my book I became completely despondent and unable to work when I thought no one would ever want to read it. It took enormous will power to push on, in spite of my misgivings about how terrible it is, and just keep writing until it was finished. The idea that I was pouring all this time and energy into a project that might not ever bring anyone any joy was exhausting.
On the other hand I can happily slave away for hours on any task that I know will bring joy to the benefactor. Provided they appreciate it.
You see I am a little bit selfish after all, in spite of how noble my desire to please may sound. I want my efforts to be appreciated. If I know that they are I don’t need any more reward than that. If, however, I feel that I am making a sacrifice in time and energy for someone who doesn’t appreciate my efforts, I find that I have absolutely no motivation to continue.
I think that actually most humans are wired this way.
We all like to feel appreciated.
But how often do we actually show our appreciation? Probably not nearly enough.
Which is crazy! Because when someone feels appreciated they are willing to do so much more. They feel better about themselves, which makes them better people, which means you are surrounded by happy, giving, appreciated people who like you and are willing to go the extra mile for you. And you know what? You will find you are willing to go the extra mile for them too.
Basically all of humanity would be a much happier (and more well adjusted) place if instead of trying to demand gratification and service, we all just took a minute to say “thank you” (and mean it) to the people who are helping us.
That means everyone. The lady packing your shopping at the grocery store, the guy sweeping the street, your wife, your boss, your employee’s (paying them is not the same as thanking them), your parents and even your kids. Say “thank you” every day as often as you can, and mean it.
I guarantee that the more you show your appreciation to people (no matter how big or small) in your life, the more you will find you have to be grateful for.
If only everyone in the whole world could show love and appreciation to every person they ever encounter, just think how very different the world would be.