Dear Carolyn • Two years ago my adult daughter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She is very optimistic and has taken part in fundraisers because she feels she owes it to those who came before her who did the same. We formed a team for our local MS Walk last year and invited our co-workers and members from my very large family to donate or walk or both. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the walk turned to hurt when her aunts and others we thought were close did nothing. My daughter is the type who donates and volunteers for everything. For months I could barely talk to my sisters and some co-workers because I was so hurt. Another walk is coming and I’m not sure how to proceed — swallow my pride and share my hurt, or just embrace the ones who show up?
To Pout or Not to Pout
Dear Pout • Your signature is your answer. When has the answer to that (or any) question ever been "to pout"? Besides — the first law of rallying people to your cause is to learn to embrace the No. You care, deeply, about issues that affect you, and it’s a good thing you do. Now extend that to other people: They care, deeply, about issues that affect them, and it’s a good thing they do. This is how things get done. When you choose to rally others to your issue, never forget that each person you approach has his or her deeply felt causes. Some of these people will have room on their issue slate to add yours to it, and for these people you thank the moon and stars. Some, though, will not have room on their slates — and for these people you don’t hurt, or pass around blame, or curse cosmic failures to be ... how did you put it ... "the type who donates and volunteers for everything." No, for these people, you also thank the moon and stars. Their focus on their own priorities keeps a part of the world turning, even if it doesn’t happen to be yours this time around. Trust that and be grateful for it. The idea of donating and volunteering for everything is lovely in theory, but unrealistic in the first place and impossible in the second.
Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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