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Expectations Can Hurt Us

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When we give, it is but natural for us to expect something in return. This is true for any kind of human relationship whether it be friendships, romantic relationships or family ties. There is no escaping the desire to be appreciated, to be rewarded and to obtain some token in exchange for the favors we do.

But when we constantly give, there are times when the person becomes conditioned to keep on receiving. Every so often our generosity is taken for granted. In some cases, the person even becomes dependent on us. And this is when problems arise.

It takes maturity and reflection to realize that when people are kind to us, we should not abuse it. In fact, we should reciprocate. For is this not upon which a healthy and mature relationship is based? The principle of give and take is an essential ingredient of any lasting human relationship.

However, there are people who may be blinded by their ego and may fail to appreciate what others do for them. A proud person finds it difficult to acknowledge the generosity of others because he sees this as an admission of his dependence.

If we feel that our efforts are unappreciated or that we are already being used, then it is not wrong to stop giving. What is wrong is to encourage other people’s dependence on us. Because if we do so, it won’t be long before we find ourselves being manipulated and abused.

It takes an even greater level of maturity to not expect anything at all, because the true essence of selflessness is to see that giving is its own reward. By realizing this, we can rid ourselves of any expectation. And by having no expectations, we will avoid being hurt.


About the author
Frederick Fabella, PhD is a research director and a graduate and undergraduate professor in the Philippines. He is an editorial board member of the IRP international research journal and a Fellow of the Royal Institution Singapore. He is the author of Transcendence: Essays For Personal Reflection. His blog can be found at Meanings and Perceptions.

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