“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” ~Samuel Johnson
For example, think about when people ask you to do things for them. You probably form expectations about what they’ll do for you in return. If there’s a hint of what’s in it for me, chances are you’re headed for some resentment.
This can be difficult to assess before taking action. If a friend is moving (again) and asks for your help (again) maybe you’re thinking to yourself “I better help because I know I’ll need it when I move next year.”
Next year when you move what happens if your friend doesn’t show up? Booyah!
When you give without expectations—only when you’re comfortable giving for the sake of it—you’re less likely to resent people for letting you down. A heart that is full of gratitude has little room for conceits or resentment. I utilize something called a gratitude list. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, resentful, or angry, I put pen to paper and write down at least ten things I’m grateful for in that particular moment. It’s difficult to resent what you don’t have when you’re focusing your energy on what you do have.
Reducing resentment takes practice and mindfulness,but first, you have to become aware of how they manifest and why.
Let’s face it: none of us is always kind. Human nature dictates we’ll act with one eye on what’s in it for us, at least occasionally. And I think that’s okay, as long as we make an effort whenever possible to do good for the sake of it.
Releasing expectations doesn’t mean you give other people permission to treat you thoughtlessly. It just means you check in with your motivations and give because you want to; and then ask for things directly when you want them. People who truly care about you will be there for you in return.