Emotional Competency

Explore the Logic of Passion

Appreciating Altruism

Someone has been kind to you and you feel gratitude for the help they have given.


  1. Appreciating an altruistic gift.
  2. Feeling grateful.
  3. Rejoicing in what is.

Root: probably from Late Latin grātitūdō thankfulness, from Latin grātus, pleasing.

Related Terms

Close synonyms include: feeling thankful, grateful, appreciative, beholden, and feeling indebted.

Gracious Giving

A gift is given graciously only when:

  1. The gift fills a need of the recipient,
  2. It is given voluntarily and unconditionally, without obligation or expectation,
  3. It is an act of kindness that goes beyond the duty or obligation of the giver,
  4. It does not cause embarrassment or shame by highlighting the need for help or limited competency of the receiver.

If the gift is given for personal gain, or with an expectation of reciprocation or future obligation, to feel self-important, or to alleviate guilt it is not a gracious gift and the recipient may not feel gratitude. Dealing with the relative stature of the giver and receiver can become important in gift giving. If the giver uses the gift presentation as an opportunity to highlight or imply his higher stature, the receiver may feel patronized and embarrassed and become resentful. It can become an uncomfortable form of dominance contest.

Origins and Value

Gratitude is the helpful side of reciprocity. It reminds us to return a favor and to keep mutual exchange fair.

Gracious Receiving

You can not feel grateful if the giver requires or expects you to feel grateful. In this case the gift was not given unconditionally; it was given with the expectation of receiving your gratitude in return. Being able to accept help is an important learned social skill that depends on your ability to cope with being in need.


[laz] Passion and Reason: Making Sense of Our Emotions, by Richard S. Lazarus, Bernice N. Lazarus

[Ekm] Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life, by Paul Ekman

[OCC] The Cognitive Structure of Emotions, by Andrew Ortony, Gerald L. Clore, Allan Collins

[Gol] Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, by Daniel Goleman

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