That Old Devil… Expectation
When we ‘give’ anything, shouldn’t it be without expectation of anything in return, including even acknowledgment? If not, then surely we’re trading or exchanging?
We’ve been programmed to think that thanking someone is courteous when they give to us, but if someone doesn’t thank us, does that make our giving any less worthwhile? It shouldn’t. So why, then, do we feel disappointed/deflated/angry when our gift (giving a present, holding a door open, letting another driver pass) isn’t received with a thank-you? That old devil… expectation.
If we have expectation of a thank-you or acknowledgement for our kind deed, then surely we’re not truly giving at all? It’s a trade or exchange – I give you this: you say thank-you.
True giving asks for nothing (it may get something, but doesn’t ask for, or expect it). And the beauty of this true giving is that when someone doesn’t reciprocate, we’re still left feeling warm about our philanthropy.
It’s a hard thing to do, but why not try it? Next time you stop for someone, or hold a door open for them, allow that ‘gift’ to drift out into the air as pure as the gift it truly is, without expectation. It changes everything. And, after all, wouldn’t enveloping yourself in your own generosity, instead of being left with bitter expectation, just make yours and everyone’s world a nicer place to be in?