You’re (usually) brought up being told to treat others the way you wish to be treated. To be considerate, and kind and always put yourself in their shoes. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I’ve lived 22 years of my life doing that. What you’re not told, however, is that people don’t always reciprocate. That everyone has different ideas and different expectations of how they should be treated, and therefore in terms of how they should treat you.
What you’re not told, is that by behaving that way – you are left with the expectation that others will treat you the way you wish to be treated.
But that is very rarely, if ever, the case.
Why? Because we are all different. It sounds obvious, really. But in reality how easy is it to put yourself in someone elses shoes? – Impossible. Sure some people are more adept than others, it’s called ‘compassion’ I think.
But in reality you can only assume what someone else thinks and feels and therefore how they would wish to be treated. In return that means other people won’t always know how to treat you, either. Added to that the spectrum of selfishness and stubborness and other such facets of a persons character that may inhibit them actually behaving in that way, even if they know they should – and you’ve entered a whole new world.
One of my new years resolutions is to be more selfish. I’ve spent 22 years of my life treating others the way I wish to be treated… and feeling snubbed more often than not when I don’t feel its reciprocated to the extent that I wish it to be.
“I did this and this and they didn’t appreciate it and never returned the favour” I’ve told my father on multiple occasions. “Then don’t do it” he’d respond. Huffing I’d shake my head and in my teenage angst claim that he didn’t understand.
He did. I didn’t.
Don’t do it.
Or do, but don’t expect anything in return.
“Act without expectation” said Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher. And although that’s easier said than done, “expectations are the root of all heartache” – and so I’m trying to live without them.