Have you been disappointed by someone you thought you could depend on? Have you done something for someone that you thought they’d reciprocate, but they didn’t? Did you let someone borrow something, expecting to get it back but never saw it again?
I think we can all answer these questions with a “yes,” because, at one time or another, we’ve done someone a favor and found ourselves disappointed when in need of help, or a caring gesture from those who we’ve treated with kindness. For clarity’s sake, let’s call the person who neglects to return favors “the debtor.”
When faced with this issue, some of us rationalize that the debtor is likely just busy this week and will eventually call us to offer their help or condolences. Others sit and think about all of the other things the debtor should’ve done and build up a solid prosecution against their character, their family and their lack of good home training. And others decide that they won’t be victimized by this sort of rudeness again and cease to do good deeds for anyone until the debtor shows them some good will.
But I’ve learned that the way to avoid being disappointed by others lies not in withholding good things or never letting others borrow or refusing to get our hopes up, but lies simply in understanding that you are the only one with your exact DNA.
There is no one else that has your exact character, that feels things the same way you do or thinks exactly like you. You can’t expect others to do what you’d do, because they’re not you. You can’t sit around waiting for Roger to apologize because you would apologize if you were Roger, because you’re not Roger. And it does no good to be mad at Shirley for never returning your white blouse. It’s been 2 years. It’s Shirley’s blouse now so stop sneering at her when she wears it. Besides, it has pit stains now.
Keep being you and do what you do. If you’re going to give, give freely. Don’t expect others to possess the characteristics you have. We can all only give what we’ve got.