What will matter is the good we did, not the good we expected others to do.– Elizabeth Lesser
I’ve been having a series of
bad learning experiences. A few people I’ve been really kind to have been showing their true colours. It’s obvious that they are people who are habituated to using people and moving on without feeling the slightest need for reciprocation. Forget reciprocation – there’s just disdain and a sense of entitlement.
What did I do? I’ve cut them out of my life as far as possible.
What Do We Except In Return For The Good We Did?
This brings me to the question of why I am kind and generous to others. What is my motivation for doing good?
Do I reach out to others with kindness, see a need and try to fill it because of insecurity?
Or am I motivated by guilt? I have received so much, I must give back. Just the other day, my husband reminded me of something I told him from my childhood. It was my 7th birthday. My Mum threw me a large party – partly to distract me from the fact that my Dad was away (it was war time) and partly because I’d never had one before. In the middle of the party, I saw a group of boys from a near by hostel, some of them orphans, leaning over the wall to watch our games. To this day, that scene is etched in my mind. The only emotion I felt – guilt. I felt terrible. My Mom went over to the place later and gave them all a treat, but even as I’m writing this I’m brought to tears. I wondered then what was going on in their minds and how left out they must have felt.
That incident according to my husband, makes me want to reach out to help people even before they ask for it. But then, I argued with him that it was my nature that made me feel that way in the middle of a lovely birthday party.
I was always one for bringing home a stray puppy even at a very young age. Do I see people like that? In need of being rescued. Or do I see myself as some sort of super heroine? Is it a false sense of pride?
Did I do the good I did without expectation of any benefit? If I’m honest, I do expect a benefit – a good feeling! Do I expect undying gratitude? No. Acknowledgement? Maybe.
What have I decided to do about the people who’ve taken me for granted? For now, I’m keeping them far. It’s safer for them and me this way.
Do you expect anything for the good you do?
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Corinne, I love your sensitive heart, and it showed up very early in your life! Thanks for all the ways in which you share it hear and encourage me to pay attention to the people on the “other side of the wall.”
Hi, yes sensitive people often think this way because they always want everyone around to feel good! It is not limited to the feeling (both sides) but becomes a habit, a practice to go on for the building of a strong and healthy community.
It’s good to see this sensitivity at a time this quality seems almost rare. In the back of my mind, I expected people to whom I helped in some way I can won’t do something totally wrong to me. They don’t have to do good but at least not do wrong. Is it too much an expectation?
These days it’s more like conditioning myself to never expect. Not even that small thing. I just look at the happiness I can get from a kind act