The opposite of gratitude

This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.  For most of my family & friends, it’s a family based event involving quantities of delicious food – usually featuring turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie, as well as other dishes.  I understand that in the USA, Thanksgiving is the *big* holiday.  Around here, usually Christmas time is a bigger deal.  (Interesting, since many Canadians are of non-Christian faiths.  But I guess everyone enjoys having statutory holidays anyway … and we really need the festivities to get us through that darkest part of the year.)

I made it to church on Sunday and have been intrigued by part of the sermon.  The main theme was thankfulness.  The priest asked the question “What is the opposite of thankfulness?”  I immediately thought of ingratitude, but his answer was greed. (He tied the greed theme back into the economic situation which has been rocking the world.)

This made for a great conversation with DH (who did not attend church with me).   His view is that ingratitude shows that a person isn’t grateful for something because they feel entitled to it, so of course they should have it.  Greed implies that a person feels entitled not just to what they have received, but that in fact they should have more.  I can see how greed would make you miserable as you would always be feeling that you really should have more than what you do, as opposed to simply oblivious because you don’t appreciate what you have.  Either way, you miss out on the joy of treasuring and cherishing something, since it is taken for granted. 

Now, let’s bring this back to the Thanksgiving meal.  I enjoy partaking of it all, savouring my favourite dishes, and even having second helpings.  I am thankful for this chance to celebrate with my family and for all the work that we put into such a wonderful meal.  But I do eat a lot of it.  Is that greed?  Is that just appreciating excessive quantities of something?  If you are thankful for it, can you still pig out and not be greedy?    I’ve always seen it as exuberantly celebrating … but really, it’s not that great for me to eat quite so much.  I guess I have to learn to enjoy and be thankful in smaller portions.  That seems hard when my family seems to enjoy things based on “if a little is good, a lot is even better!” I have to find a way to do this so I don’t feel deprived, I guess.

For any of you who may be reading and who are believers in the power of prayer, positive energy, good vibes etc … there is a job possibility that we are really hoping for.  There’s been talk of some of the details, but the final decision has yet to be made.  Please send us your good thoughts!  We would surely appreciate & treasure being employed now, in a way that we would never have done before …

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5 thoughts on “The opposite of gratitude

  1. Amy says:

    “Greed implies that a person feels entitled not just to what they have received, but that in fact they should have more. ” This is a great definition b/c it takes the term away from the greed = rich equation, which I’ve always found faulty. I know someone of average income who feels SO entitled to both what she has and more, that she resents and belittles everyone wealthier than her, even if they came by their money through hard work. I think that if she resents them, she can avoid thinking about her own decisions to do the bare minimum to scrape by, when she’s capable of so much more. None of which would be a problem, did she not feel that entitlement to more, more, more.

    As for the prayer/energy/good vibes/thoughts. . . . you got it!

  2. Sending good thoughts your way!

  3. loribeth says:

    Interesting thoughts on Thanksgiving! Any news on the job front? Fingers crossed for you!

  4. I agree with your husbands idea! And I will definitely keep you in my thoughts & prayers!!!! :)

  5. Sylvia says:

    Hi – I just came across this post while trawling the net searching for “the opposite of gratitude.” My thought on the ingratitude/greed discussion is that they’re degrees on the same continuum. If you have a sense of entitlement and don’t notice what you’ve got then you feel like you’ve received nothing and you want more, leading to greed.

    On the basic food-level understanding of greed, one could be truly mindful and appreciate the whole taste, texture and nourishment of a single nut or berry, and feel satisfied. When we eat in a rush, shoving in a handful, chewing too few times, and swallowing while reading email or watching TV, we don’t even notice that we’ve eaten. We still feel hungry and we … overeat. Greed. Go well everyone

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