Question: Two years ago my adult daughter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She is very optimistic and has taken part in fund-raisers 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 coworkers 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.
For months I could barely talk to my sisters and some coworkers because I was so hurt. I shared my hurt with a coworker and she said she would donate, but never did. I didn't care about the money; I wanted her there.
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?
Answer: 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. 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 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.
So the path with the most reliable rewards is to choose gratitude. When you feel powerless against a harmful force, it's natural to try to make the world compensate you with something good. But that's just as fruitless as telling MS to buzz off. Consciously stop looking for absences on your donor lists, and celebrate those who appear. Be your own source of something good.
So show love in your way, and trust others to do so in theirs.
Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.