Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Problem of Being Owed

The Problem with Being Owed

Feeling “owed” exacts a high price.

It’s easy to feel that someone or “the system” owes us something. We’ve had such a hard life. We’ve worked hard, sacrificed and, perhaps, have been mistreated or neglected. “After all I’ve done for you,” or, “After all I’ve been through,” are our favorite plaints. Surely “they” owe us.

What’s wrong with that?

It leads to resentment. Hanging on to resentments is called “gunnysacking.” If you don’t know what a gunnysack is, ask an “old-timer” who used to pick cotton. Ask him about the burden he pulled along behind him, between the rows, and how exhausting it was.

Maybe we feel so special that the fog of resentment blocks our appreciation for our good fortune and gratitude for what has been given us.

Sometimes, feeling “owed” gives us license to take back what we believe “they” owe us. We begin to infringe of others’ property or rights in order to even the score.

Perhaps we wait for what’s owed us. We’re stuck in the muck of inaction and not getting anywhere. We’re waiting to get on with our lives until we get what we’re owed—an apology, an admission that they were wrong, a thank-you for what we’ve done, or an acknowledgement of how hard it’s been for us.

Perhaps we’ve given so very much that there is no amount of appreciation that can repay our sacrifices or heal our wounds. Perhaps the hurt and sacrifice happened so long ago, that the offenders no longer exist. Who is left to make amends on behalf of those who harmed or used us? Can it ever be enough? Or is this hurt so much a part of us, so precious, that we can’t let it go? What does it take for us to “get off it,” get over it, let it go, finally?

We wait and wait. We wait until we decide that what we’re waiting for is not worth our very lives. We make a choice between existing and living. We get tired of "feeding on straw when a banquet awaits us on the other side of the fog."

We begin to experience energy and peace we haven't known.

Love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

No comments: