5 Things We Give Others that We Shouldn't Expect in Return
We have all had those days where if we had a place to escape to, we’d be off in a cartoonish puff of dust headed to our respective happy places. I know I do. I have them all the time. I’ve always believed wholeheartedly in the statement “before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” I try to be a good guy, every single day. Yet, it never fails, someone will find a way to make me feel bad about myself or my decisions. That’s when I had an epiphany of sorts: my disappointment in other people was based on my expectations of others. That’s the thing with expecting things from others, it opens the doorway to disappointment. So, if you are anything like me and try to be the best person you can be, here are 5 things to quit expecting from others – no matter how freely we give them out.
Buy an “Intelligence is sexy” t-shirt!
I see a very basic example of this every single day at least once: opening doors. I cannot count how many times I have opened a door for someone and they just walk by like it’s my job to open that door for them. Not even so much as a head nod of recognition. Yet, if someone is ever kind enough to open the door for me, I make damn sure that they know that I am appreciative of such a small gesture of kindness. I know that seems like a somewhat petty example, but consideration is one of those things that we almost expect from other human beings that we rarely get in return. If you’ve ever had a roommate you know exactly what I am talking about. Some people are so self-absorbed that even acknowledging the people around them is a stretch.
I have struggled with this one a lot in my life. It’s not that loyalty is necessarily hard to find, but the level of loyalty rarely matches up. In your career, you can go out on a limb for someone who would throw you under the bus for a happy meal. People don’t seem to understand that loyalty is not a one-size-fits-all condition. Loyalty is a concept. If someone has your back when it comes to something minor but disappears when things get serious, that’s not loyalty – that’s convenience.
Read: Are You a Competent Adult?
I gave up on expecting forgiveness YEARS ago. I give of it so freely, and it used to drive me crazy when I didn’t get it from others. The problem here is that people are so quick to point out your mistakes, but it is impossible for them to see their own. Therefore, your forgiveness holds no weight with them because in their minds they weren’t wrong. When you accept that you were wrong, and seek forgiveness, it becomes important to you. Again, just because it matters to you doesn’t mean that it matters to the person you are seeking forgiveness from.
Every level of acceptance comes with a level of judgement. There are going to be people in our lives that are so focused on the judgement that they might appear to accept you for who you are, but basically just want something to look down on. What makes this frustrating for people like me is that there is a certain level of acceptance that I think we all strive for, that some people are just never going to give. It’s usually people like family or coworkers, who you can’t just tell to go away.
Read: 6 Signs of REAL Maturity
Again, this goes back to the convenience thing that I talked about with loyalty. I’d crawl on broken glass for people that wouldn’t even help me walk across the street. The difference these days is that I just don’t expect them to do the same for me in return.
I guess the sentiment here is that we shouldn’t quit giving freely of ourselves to other people, just because we don’t get the same things back in return. We need to be realistic about our expectations, or lose them altogether. Trust me, it will do wonders for your sanity.