Sometimes we do, do and do, expecting that we’re going to get a reward. A great parenting blog I once read by James Lehman really resonated with me. Writing about living with teenagers, Lehman said: “Don’t expect a pat on the back (for all you do).” That statement hit me and it’s become something I still remind myself of regularly—in all aspects of my life.

Resentment builds if we do for others expecting accolades or trophies or compliments. It is an expenditure of negative energy to keep track of what we do for others or to think our actions somehow oblige another. When we give, we must do it freely. When we’re being kind, loving and generous, it is a no-obligation gift that we choose to give. In that moment, it’s a one-way transaction. When we get love, generosity or kindness in return, it’s a bonus. While we might feel that certain people drain our energy with their ongoing needs, it helps to remember times of fulfillment that you received in the past and what may be coming from others in unrelated ways. Strive to be grateful for these people—sometimes random strangers (like those who let you have the parking spot when you’re in a rush)—and remember those moments. 

There is balance in the world—if we choose to see it. The people you give to might or might not be the ones who return generosity to you—but others will. It’s how good will works. Try thinking of good actions as if they were currency for a Universal Bank. We all make deposits and we all make withdrawals. When we’re worried about whether we’re getting our fair share of good will, it’s time to make more deposits.

This is an excerpt from the book The Silver Disobedience Playbook. I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience A Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People.  More info in my bio & my website.