My husband's aunt and uncle were visiting from the States. They were quite well off. I had about as much in common with them as a jellyfish does with a thoroughbred. It was one of the few days off I had which my husband also had off. We were visiting with them at another aunt's house. They asked me about my summer job.
I told them a story about this one customer who was so pleased that I took an interest in him and his country of origin (couldn't help it - he was Scottish and his Glaswegian accent was to DIE for!) that on a $7 order he sought me out afterward and pressed a $5 bill into my hand. "Doan tell me wife," he whispered. "She'all theenk ah gone sawft."
The incident meant a lot to me because I had never had anyone seek me out to say thank you for anything before. My contribution to the family growing up was never enough and I never got a word of thanks from the one person from whom I longed to receive it. So having someone acknowledge what I did for him was huge for me. However, rich uncle and spouse were not impressed, thinking I was uncouth and mercenary. They thought it was all about the money. They missed the point entirely. It wasn't the extra money. It was the recognition. They had no clue that up until that point, I was under the erroneous impression that who I was and what I did for people would always be taken for granted and that "Thank you" was something I would never receive. I forced myself to not think about it, to not mind it... and lost myself in the process. Part of me looking after myself (a necessary component of my recovery from doormat-itis) is to not beat up on myself for wanting to hear those 2 words every so often: thank you. And I give thank yous as well. Mind you, I try not to obsess about needing recognition like I once did.
I still tend to want to know if anyone is listening - which is why I do check my page hits - I guess. It is so rewarding sometimes to open up my email and find that someone has left a comment on a post I've written. But there is a very large (majority) percentage of my psyche that would write even if I thought nobody was "out there" - because I'm a writer; I write. That's what I do out of who I am. I do it ... to think about things, to stay sane, to vent / rant, to express emotion, and also to acknowledge the wonderful gifts that have been given to me: freedom, friendship, faith.