There is nothing that bothers me quite like feeling obligated to behave a certain way. I have a pretty high set of personal standards. When I feel those standards are being put upon by someone else’s perception of a situation, I feel boxed into a corner. I hate that. I believe any act should be one’s personal motivation rather than perceived social requirement. In short, I feel it should be genuine or else it shouldn’t be done.
I say this as I presume to remind you of the “social requirement” that make personal interactions richer (in my opinion), but I do not preach to you of the wrongness of your ways. Instead, I merely strive to inform you of the culture we’ve put aside and encourage each of my readers to assess that culture to find what parts may enrich each of your lives. I see a shift in the wrong direction, and I only hope to remind my readers of the path behind our feet.
(poetic enough for you?)
When people mourn or celebrate, I believe that it is a personal thing. I love my birthday. I wish I could decree my birthday to be a national holiday, and while others may share their birthdays with me it will always be mine, first and foremost. But I am saving that for my time in the Oval Office…. someday, perhaps. When I mourn, whether it be for a life lost or an opportunity missed, it is instead personal. I do not wish others to burden themselves with my sadness. Even my happiness at my birthday is my own and I do not expect others to understand it, just properly revel in it and show adoration to me.
This is why when I am prevailed upon to offer condolences or congratulations (or even thanks), I prefer to do it on my terms. I feel insincere or cliche to my own ears and I have to wonder if it seems that way to the recipient as well.
Learn to be considerate of other people. …But don’t confine your good deeds to the times they’re obligatory.
Mrs. Harriman offered a piece of advice that truly seemed to target my personality. I love giving gifts of friendship and thanks for no other reason than to celebrate the relationship I share with someone. It could be something as simple as a friend’s favorite sweet treat picked up at a convenient stop or something that has meaning on several levels shared to feed an inside confidence. This type of affectionate interaction helps me feel like I have a real friend, not a mere acquaintance. It’s genuine and thoughtful. It’s the thought that counts, right?
I once received, as a gift from a family member, a box of thank you notes and stamps and an address book filled with family addresses. I was promptly informed that I must use this gift to thank all the people in the family that had given me something. From a stout tree, only a few thin branches felt the need to send gifts, so that specific gift went largely unused. Now, it is always proper form to give thanks for a gift once given. However, I feel I should be the one to choose how to give that thanks.
I’m sure I have much more to say on this subject, but I’ll save it for a later time. No need to make my readers feel beholden to such a lengthy post.
- Happy Birthday to Me (shanehalbach.com)