My In-Laws Did Not Give My Daughter Gift Money for Enrolling in Vocational School

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time female worker in my 50s. I still can’t forget that my in-laws didn’t give our daughter gift money when she enrolled in a vocational school two years ago.

Our son, who is three years older than our daughter, received gift money from them when he entered college and when he turned 20.

My own parents gave them a cash gift.

My husband said that his parents just forgot, but that cannot be true. I know it’s shameful to think this way, but I can’t get it out of my mind. Should I find the courage to tell my in-laws that they did not give her the money?

My in-laws receive a large pension and give some money to my husband’s younger sister. My husband does not take it because he says he does not like that sort of thing.

It is frustrating because it is as if only our family is taking a loss.

When I told my husband about this, he said he was sorry. This makes it difficult to tell my in-laws.

Should I forget about the money?

— X, Hokkaido

Dear Ms. X:

I think you can ask your in-laws about the gifts if you still can’t forget about them after two years, but it seems difficult for you to do so given your husband’s position.

In the first place, I think you need to think about why you are so obsessed with this issue.

This issue reminds me of the difference between relying on and believing in someone, which the Japanese philosopher Manshi Kiyozawa discussed.

When you rely on someone, you get frustrated when things don’t go as expected between you and that person because you do not trust them with your heart.

On the other hand, if you believe in someone, you are fine even if things don’t go as you expected because you genuinely trust that person. This is because you have built a relationship with them thoroughly.

Maybe you haven’t built that relationship with your in-laws. I think that is why you’re so frustrated that things haven’t gone the way you expected.

Why don’t you try to trust them? Then you will be able to feel calm even if they did not do what you expected and think that there must be a reason for them not to do it.

— Hitoshi Ogawa, philosopher