Relationships

Sincere Gratitude Has 1 Illusive Challenge With Your SO7 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes Showing gratitude for your partner shows that you don’t take them for granted, and that you truly appreciate their presence, but at what cost?

July 20, 2020 5 min read
Gratitude

Sincere Gratitude Has 1 Illusive Challenge With Your SO7 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Being grateful for the person next to you and holding your hand through all of the highs and lows is something that should come to someone inherently. You’re sharing your life with this person, in a sense, they complete you, why shouldn’t you go the extra length to make them feel wanted, special, and cared for? You’re thankful for the way they are with you, the words, actions, and everything in between, and you’re trying your best to express it. However, are we aware that there’s a fine line that exists between being genuinely grateful, or the sense of gratitude is being an overkill? Get these books to help.

  1. Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom
  2. Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection by Chris Schremba

Is Gratitude a Panacea?

Gratitude is good, necessary to an extent. It’s good for your relationship, but is it always like that? When can you relate to your partner’s feelings, be able to wear their own shoes, and see things from their perspective, is it causing you more harm than good? Philosophers usually link gratitude to a so called action to love, including solely positive feelings. They ruled out the fact in certain cases, one person may suffer due to a “sense of gratitude”, which can ultimately give birth to negative emotions. Now, you might ask – why would a person suffer from showing gratitude in a relationship? We’ll be discussing that further in the blog.

It’s clear that gratitude alone won’t solve everything in a relationship. Appreciation towards your partner is important, but it’s important to know when you’re overdoing it.

The Different Feelings Associated with Gratitude

This has been a rather sacred cow in the relationship code for ages – if you’re having issues with your partner, put yourself in their shoes and you might be able to see things better in their perspective.

When you throw in influential Yale psychologist Paul Bloom into the mix, along with his book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, and a self declared war against “the empathy wave”, you will start seeing these issues and your reaction to them in a whole different light. He presents evidence in support of empathy is bad for us, often times capable of leading to cruelty.

In another book by Chris Schembra called Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection, the author embarks on a spiritual journey and discusses about the importance of communication in relationships. This book delivers a rather hard pill to swallow – sometimes the people who are close to you physically, might be the ones you feel disconnected from the most.

gratitude

Both of the concepts presented by the books seem a little too different to be related, right? Yet, they are not. Somehow, they’re both two sides on the different coins, and if you are able to unfold the true meaning, you will see how these two topics are intricately interconnected. It might also do wonders for your relationship.

Realizing Your Gratitude Might Backfire: A Slow, but Relieving Process

It doesn’t have to be one major incident to trigger the feeling that you’re valuing gratefulness over what right. Your partner makes fun on your favorite TV show; you decided to let it slide even though you were hurt by their actions. They haven’t spent enough time with you in a long time and you’re feeling disconnected, but you don’t retort because you value their presence. Yes, compromising is important, but when that comes out of a place of gratitude where you’re only doing so to avoid a conflict of interest, or simply not displease your partner, that can be a problem.

Here are two books that we would recommend to help you process your emotions better.

  1. Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom
  2. Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection by Chris Schremba

Why We Recommend the Two Books and How They’re Interconnected

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

This book has a clever way of expressing how gratitude can often lead to dysfunctional behavior and bad decisions. According to the author, the world is so focused on getting on the “empathy” bandwagon; they’re possible disregarding how gratitude might mean ignoring someone’s interests over the others. Labeling empathy as innumerate, he thinks it incites people to focus on the sufferings of an individual without considering others.

If one is ignoring all his feelings for the sake of the other, they are unaware on how it can affect the future. By avoiding to acknowledge your own anger, you’re only allowing it to be pent up inside you, taking a scarier form with each passing day. You can be sure it will explode later, and also have dire consequences. Not only that, but empathy can also be wielded like a weapon to incite an emotional response, rather than a logical one.

The entire book is trying to convince people that empathy isn’t a good basis for your moral compass, and you should rather focus on compassion. What’s compassion in this case? Feeling for your partner, rather than muting your own opinions and comfort to feel with them. 

Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection

This book is one you will keep close to your heart, one you will account for bringing permanent changes in the way you view your personal and professional relationships. The author has cracked the code to communication, and how to truly build a bond with someone through the art of talking and feeling through the age-old act of “breaking bread” together.

In a relationship, it’s crucial to have a connection with your significant other; a connection strong enough where both parties can act rational, sensible, and compassionate in any circumstances. One must concentrate on building a safe space between themselves and their partner so they can genuinely communicate and build a connection.

The two books are much more intertwined than we can think. While Gratitude and Pasta delves deeper into the region of creating a stable relationship with your partner, Against Empathy gives you a unique way to sustain your relationship. In a sense, the first book helps you think of ways to better communicate with your partner, and if you’re on the same wavelength as them, then you wouldn’t have to put on the destructive act of “empathy”, which the other book describes in-depth.

Contrasting to what has been discussed till now, a research article titled The Distinct Effects of Empathic Accuracy for a Romantic Partner’s Appeasement and Dominance Emotions had attempted to find how being accommodating and dominating had different effects on relationships. Turns out, if the emotions were much more on the appeasing side, the relationship quality was noticed to be higher in comparison to the dominating one. So, it’s very much clear that people process positive emotions better. Negative emotions such as the ones related to an excessive amount of gratitude, might not sit well with everyone.

Conclusion

It’s important to know the difference between being appreciative and just giving an act of gratitude. A relationship shouldn’t be based solely on gratitude. If you are with your partner but they’re unable to handle negative emotions which are harming the relationship, some changes need to be made. A healthy relationship is one where both parties can be rational, sensible, and compassionate towards each other. You certainly shouldn’t ignore your interests to show your gratefulness for your partner; that’s more myopic than a sign of affection.

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