Gratitude has been hard to find lately. People expressing their gratitude feels like it rarely happens. In stand up comedy, you are an island. Your drive, your willingness to push comes from inside. You cannot rely on others (except for applause and laughter from a crowd) to lift you up. So when someone does encourage you or show gratitude for the show your hosting/running, it feels like heaven: washing your hands with warm water after being in a cold office. There is also that self doubt that happens where someone tells you that your show is great but you question whether or not they really “mean” it. So you learn to be desensitized and learn to continue to look internally.
Gratitude in all aspects of life is important. I think it doesn’t happen at work as much as it should. Bosses forget that their employees need little nuggets of praise to continue doing well. I worked for a woman about a year ago who never told me I did a good job. I was early or on time every day. I went above and beyond what my job required to help grow profits. I DID grow sales for the business. But she was a dragon mother: breathing fire and did not believe in positive reinforcement. All I wanted was for her to say that she was appreciative of the 17 day week I worked, and that worked my ass off.
When I go the job I am currently at, I felt like a new person. I felt like my hard work mattered. Crazy enough, my bosses show gratification! Yesterday, my boss took me to TacoMac for lunch. He knows I love wings and this is the closest wing place that isn’t Hudson Grill (barf.) I devoured those wings and enjoyed talking to him about work and movies. He told me I was doing good work and I deserved the wings for being a great employee. It was so needed. Buying me wings was enough but the verbal affirmation that my work is being noted makes a huge difference.
Those wings filled me up with more than spicy sauce. It filled me up with gratitude for my bosses and my job. It gave me the encouragement to show more gratitude to people in my life. I know I don’t take enough time to tell people that I’m grateful to have them in my life.
Comedy has conditions you to not be as sensitive but there are times we all desire someone to say, “Hey, thanks for being in my life.” I have been bogged down with stress from feeling like what I am giving isn’t enough. ( I also am aware I need to put more into other friendships.) I think in any friendship, it’s rarely 50/50… sometimes its 30/70 and sometimes its 49/51. I have no problem with it, I do have an issue with feeling like the 100% I’m putting in is quickly a vapor. Wanting gratitude feels so selfish to talk about…“Why can’t I do things for people in my life and not care if I get a sincere thank you?” I know, we are all human and we will never get it perfect and never be the BEST person but I sure as hell want to try my best.I want to put those feelings of desire for appreciation aside but it’s hard to when your well of wing sauce feels like its running dry and other people need to sauce their wings.
I am challenging myself to do better with telling people what I like about them and what I am grateful for. I know how much it sucks when someone in your life: a boss, a friend, or significant other, doesn’t acknowledge your percentage. I want to make sure that when I can, I will make time to get wings with someone or dip them in my well of wing sauce.