Good governments pass policies for the benefit of its citizens. Parents are strict for the sake of their children. Friends and coworkers provide criticism for the sake of one another. When we fail to appreciate this, we may ask how these acts benefits us. What good can being berated do?
Why do we fail to appreciate the things others do for our sake? This is due to our failure to think correctly, cling on to our own viewpoint. We cannot understand the thoughts behind others’ actions. If we can appreciate the intentions of others, we will be able to see and appreciate kindness where ever we go.
The mother of Mencius moved her family three times in order to provide him with a good learning environment. The mother of Yue Fei, a Song Dynasty general renowned for his loyalty, tattooed his back to remind him to serve his country faithfully. This served not only Yue Fei, but also his country.
Elders often urge the younger generation to work hard. The latter usually complains that they are too demanding. Teachers tell their students to be patient and tolerant of others. Students often consider this request to be unreasonable. But the seemingly unreasonable demands our elders and teachers have made are for our sake. If we understand this, we should do as they say. We should be truly grateful, even moved, by their good intentions. When we can appreciate what others do for us, we will become better people. We will find it easier to understand how others feel.
When we do not realize how well others treat us, we act ignorant and insensitive. We should understand that, “medicine that heals often tastes bitter, and advice that helps is usually grating to the ears.” If we do not appreciate the good intentions of others, we will disappoint them by not living up to their expectations.
Surgeons inflict pain during operations. Teachers make strict demands. Both professions cut us for our sake. We should show our appreciation for their good intentions. When their intentions are less than good, we should accept them as if they were for our benefit. If we can learn to do so, we can “grow with the gentle breeze and soft rain and develop with the icy snow and cold frost.”
“For your sake” is a phrase filled with endless possibilities.