“Ingratitude is manifest in three degrees of intensity in the world… The first phase, the simplest and most common, is that of thoughtless thanklessness… The second phase of ingratitude is denial, a positive sin, not the mere negation of thanklessness… The third phase of ingratitude is treachery, where selfishness grows vindictive…
These three—thanklessness, denial and treachery—run the gamut of ingratitude, and the first leads to the second, and the second prepares the way for the third.” ~ William George Jordan
I have distilled these excellent points from the Judeo-Christian context in which Mr. Jordan set them, for two reasons. First, so that those whose capacity for scientific thinking is suspended when approaching great truths cloaked in a religious framework can recognize the reasonableness and logic of Mr. Jordan’s observations and second, that those who view the world through the lens of a well-practiced religion might see the truth of Mr. Jordan’s words in a new light. Religious fanatics are as blind to the truth as are scientific zealots.
You needn’t be familiar with the stories of Jesus, Peter and Judas, in fact, thanklessness, denial and treachery play out in in times as unfortunately as they were reported to have in theirs. No matter how diverse the history of the societies and cultures that have come and gone over the ages may seem at first glance, the themes of thanklessness, denial and treachery weave a dark thread through each of their pages. These are the lackeys of ingratitude and they have made uncomfortable bedfellows with otherwise good people through the ages.
Ingratitude is a behavioral addiction, in that people continue their involvement with it despite the obviously negative consequences of indulging in it. It is the crystal meth of the emotional realm. Early and casual experiences with it seem harmless enough, yet thanklessness is only the first phase of what can become a very serious and destructive sickness.
Experimenting with thanklessness opens the door to the expression of denial, the refusal to side with what is right. You may have asked yourself when watching someone engaged in denial: “How could she do such a thing, knowing what she knows?” Examine the patient history and you will likely find a steady diet of thanklessness leading up to the point of denial. The individual may have tried to cover up the fact that she had gorged herself on the fruit of thanklessness, perhaps even to the point that she no longer recognized her addiction, but thanklessness maintained over time invariably morphs into denial.
Denial, similarly, drives the cancer of ingratitude more deeply into the body, heart and mind of the individual. The disease becomes progressively more complex and severe to the point that chronic denial eventually progresses into treachery, where as Mr. Jordan put it so succinctly, “selfishness becomes vindictive.”
To recover form this debilitating addiction, you must first and foremost learn to be thankful in all things. Even if the situation at hand is awful and you are caught between a rock and a hard place, give thanks that you have the privilege of bringing virtue into the picture. The second step is to come to the point where you no longer require gratitude in exchange for your actions. You do the right thing solely because it is the right thing to do, with no strings attached.
Take these steps and you will lose interest in the self-sabotaging and self-destructive tactics so common to those addicted to the fruit of ingratitude and gain confidence to meet anything that comes your way with the full strength and conviction of your being!