You might think otherwise, but in truth, no one owes you anything. Not God, not your spouse, not your parents, not your kids, not your friends or your colleagues. Seriously, no one owes you a single thing.
I don’t think any one of us go about our days consciously assuming that we’re owed anything, yet we somehow unknowingly end up behaving in a way that says just that.
We live lives full of expectations. We’ve come to expect certain things, certain behaviors and certain reactions. And because we’ve come to expect those things, we unwittingly end up feeling entitled to them. Then, when we don’t get them, we feel upset and short changed.
How many times have I gotten upset with my kids for not doing their chores? How many times have I snapped at my husband because I felt I didn’t get the reaction I hoped for? How many times have I gotten annoyed at someone?
Yes, I feel that my kids should have responsibility. Yes, I wish my husband could read my mind. (Or maybe not.) Yes, I wish people would be more polite. But they’re not the problem.
The problem is expectations and the false notion that people think we need them. When you have an expectation, you’re putting forth a demand. Is that the way to manage any type of a relationship? To demand something from the other party?
An expectation is one sided. We don’t need to live lives filled with demands.
So what do we need? We need hopes and wishes. We need reciprocity in the form of cooperation and partnership.
In the example of my kids and their chores. My wish is for teamwork. Being part of the family means being part of the team, a team that helps the family function as it should both physically and emotionally. Not because I want them to do it for me personally, but for the good of the whole unit.
In marriage or in any type of a relationship you’re looking for cooperation and partnership as well as mutual understanding. You wish for good and by wishing for good instead of expecting or demanding it, you can find the good and are grateful for what you have.
You have to earn love or respect or kindness. Demanding them will get you nowhere fast. When a relationship is a loving one, not one based on debts, people will be more likely to want to be there for you.
Learning that you’re not owed anything doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat or be treated badly. It means you have a choice and can decide what relationships and actions belong in your life. You don’t demand things from other and you don’t transfer the blame or responsibility on others. You decide what is right for you. You decide to see all the things to be grateful for.
Love can only be unconditional when you earn it but don’t feel you’re owed it.
Can you imagine how many of the world’s problems would vanish if we all believed that we aren’t owed anything and took responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
Do you think you are owed anything?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.