Self-sufficiency and gratitude – are they mutually exclusive?

‘Self-sufficiency kills gratitude’ said a coaching client – let’s call him John – to me the other day.

‘That’s quite a statement – can you tell me some more about that?’ I asked.

John replied: ‘All my life, I’ve felt the need to be independent and self-motivating. If I want to succeed, no-one else is going to do that for me. No-one else could sit my exams for me, no-one else could go to interviews for me, no-one else could get the promotion for me. It was the same outside work – only I could do my training for Ironman, only I could find the girl I wanted to spend my life with, only I could be a great dad.

‘But I’ve realised recently that all this has gone a bit too far and I’ve become too self-sufficient. And that’s meant I’ve stopped noticing what others do for me. I’ve stopped being grateful – after all, if it’s all about me, what do I need to thank others for?

‘Then the other day, my son was helping me wash the car. We finished the job, my son picked up  the bucket and sponge, I put them in the garage and I turned to walk back into the house. My son just stood there.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“What do you say?” he asked.

“What do you mean – what do you say?” I asked.

“That’s what you say to me, Dad, when you do something for me and you want me to say thank you.”

‘He had a really good point. I realised that I do expect him to say thank you, and I expect others to say thank you but I rarely say it myself,’ explained John. ‘So I’ve changed my ways. I’ve realised how many people I do depend on. I’m trying to remember to say thank you. I’ve even gone down the old school route and bought some thank you cards and am going to send out one a week.’

thank you neon lights gratitude grateful

Today’s pebble for your contemplation:

who will you thank and how will you do it?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to take action and create positive change in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Self-sufficiency and gratitude – are they mutually exclusive?

  1. Pingback: Is ‘help’ a four-letter word? | Turning over pebbles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.