Expect Nothing: No One Owes You ANYTHING!

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Ever heard of the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you?” You don’t need to be religious to understand the meaning or to abide by it. Just because you live by a certain moral and ethical code, it doesn’t mean others do.

Over time I’ve grown to realize that living my life this way would one day reward me on many different levels. At the same time, I’ve also learned that having expectations of other people and how they live is wrong because everyone has free will. Just because you respect someone else’s time and planning doesn’t mean that they have to return the favor. People will say that respect is earned, but this is not always the case. You’ll meet people who simply refuse to respect you regardless of what you have or haven’t done, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

I’m huge on being a person of my word. I follow through on what I say I will do, and I expect others to do the same. My biggest pet-peeve is people who are flakes or vow breakers. I can’t stand them. Even if I were on my deathbed (literally) but I’m expected somewhere, I’ll insure to let someone know in advance that I won’t make it because I am dying. No joke. I’d let them (professional or personal) know as soon as possible. For example, in May we had to change plans and not go to the movies with dear friends Eric and Natalie (who are exactly the same way; they’re extremely reliable) because my water broke with my daughter. So, my partner found someone else to take our place. As we sat in the hospital waiting for the nurse to check on me and I was in between contractions, we texted Eric and Natalie to let them know as soon as possible that we’d have to break our date for good reason. And even then, there was still a part of me that was trying to figure out how I could get out of the hospital in time to meet them.

Granted things happen, but I find it highly disrespectful and offensive when people wait until the very last-minute to call off a date or in some cases not even bother changing their RSVP until the 11th hour. Even though they’ve known all day or all week that they were not feeling well or that they couldn’t make it. I have gotten down right pissed off about this. Because it says to me that my time is not respected. Especially when, the roles being reversed, I always stick to my word, my end of the bargain. And if I have to change plans you better believe I notify those involved way in advance unless it’s an emergency. I am like that with friends. I am like this with family. I am like this with acquaintances. I am like this with people I don’t get along with. I am like this with my work. If a project is going to take me longer, I let those involved know about it. Out of sheer respect and to avoid misunderstandings I try to exercise direct, concise and clear communication.

The one thing I’ve always been told is that, rain or shine, I am extremely reliable. I am not an excuse maker.

So, naturally, up until recently I have gotten really upset when things feel one-sided. When I was pregnant, my partner’s brother and sister-in-law didn’t come up to us once to congratulate us. They seemed uncomfortable the entire time, because as we found out later that they assumed they’d be the ones to “have the baby first.” I couldn’t believe it. I was upset about that. I expected a “we’re happy for you” or “congratulations” or some form of positivity. Once I took my emotions out of the equation, I learned a very big lesson. Aside from the fact that we can all be egocentric and ignorant of the world outside our bubble, I started to understand one of the biggest life lessons yet, this being that no one owes me anything. No one owes you anything either. Sound harsh? Well, it’s true.

The Bottom Line:

No one owes you an e-mail response. No one owes you a courtesy call or text message. No one owes you that freeway lane even if you have the right of way. No one owes you an open door even though they see that your hands are full and that you could use help. No one owes you a “like” on Facebook even though you “like” their posts all the time. No one owes you their happiness for your success. No one owes you empathy and compassion for your troubles and struggles. No one owes you a smile or a hello or a good morning. No one owes you kindness, a favor or a microsecond of their time. No one owes you anything. Let me repeat. No one owes you or I anything.

So, if you have reciprocity in your life with decent humans (regardless if they are professional or personal contacts) count yourself lucky. If you have humans in your life who actually respect your time and value you as an individual enough to respect your time and energy, count yourself blessed. But, for your own sanity do yourself a big favor. Don’t expect anything from anyone. Continue to live your life by how you’d like to be treated, but keep your expectations low or, better yet, don’t have any, whatsoever. The result will be that you won’t be disappointed. And if you are surprisingly greeted with kindness, a smile, a nice conversation, and a courtesy call back then consider it to be a truly abundant day and pay it forward.

Ryan Reynolds


8 thoughts on “Expect Nothing: No One Owes You ANYTHING!

    This British-American Life said:
    August 11, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Interesting thoughts but I can’t completely agree with your interpretation of no one owes us anything. If no one owes us anything, why would we fight for social justice?

    I know. I understand not getting caught up in the petty slights that we deal with in day-to-day life, and that was the point of your post. I agree that a Facebook like is not worth losing sleep over.

    Regarding an example that you gave about your partner’s brother and sister-in-law, those petty things just add up after time, especially with dealing with family and people who are supposed to be your friends. If you just ignore and not address those problems, those things just eat away at the relationship when the little things could have been addressed years ago when things could have been solved more easily. It’s all about the patterns of behavior, and some things have to be nipped in the bud before they become monsters. So, how much do you value those relationships? How much do those conflicts affect the mutual relationships you have with other people?

    And reading your other posts, you said you have struggles with depression. Being a fellow depressive, I also understand that sometimes all of your emotional energy goes into putting on your game face. Being an introvert and in my worst episodes, there were plenty of times I flaked out of things because I just could not go through with being social and pretending I was OK. I understand the consequences of the actions and ended up torpedoing friendships. I bet they thought about me the way you are writing. I wasn’t a decent person who didn’t have the decency to call or explain myself well enough. They probably didn’t judge me any harder than I judged myself. It was what it was.

    So I say pick your battles and dig a little deeper to find out the full story. If you come out at the end worse for wear, you walk away knowing that you gave it your best effort and what is left is their problem, not yours.

    Liked by 1 person

      lilpickmeup said:
      August 11, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      Yes, I agree that things do have to be addressed. The flakes I dealt with I actually confronted. None of them suffer from depression or any sort of mental health issue. They just lacked the follow through or respect or whatever you want to call it. The family issue was also addressed, but now we are no longer speaking to them because they refused to own up to it. Like you said, sometimes things have to be addressed or it turns into a huge issue. To this day we had our baby and did not receive a congrats or anything from the brother and sister-in-law. So, we are not even on speaking terms with them unfortunately.

      You are totally right, you have to pick your battles. You do all that you can, you try your best and if you don’t get some decent respect then you just cut your losses, I guess. I have and still do suffer from depression like you. So, when things like the above happen it really hurts. I’m a work in progress, learning to deal with how personally I take things. Like you said though, sometimes things add up and add up. But, I am learning that as long as I give my best effort, I have done my part. We can’t change people, their motives, or actions and behaviors. I am only in control over my own. Like you said, whatever is someone else’s issue remains their issue.

      Thank you for your awesome response and for reading. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        This British-American Life said:
        August 11, 2015 at 12:50 PM

        I am sorry it did not work out with the brother and sister-in-law. It only goes to show that sometimes the best family you can have is the one you make yourself.

        You are preaching to the choir regarding works-in-progress. Because our brains lie to us, we crave outside affirmation so much. When we don’t get it, we can easily twist an oversight into a huge slap in the face. Or we can take a huge insult and convince ourselves it wasn’t that bad because we want acceptance so badly. The fact that we are at a point where we function with self-respect is a testimony to our resilience.

        Maybe the tagline should be “Hope for the best, but expect the worst.”?

        Liked by 1 person

    This British-American Life said:
    August 11, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Oh, how rude of me. You’re welcome. It was a well-written post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Nadine said:
    August 14, 2015 at 1:03 AM

    “I’m huge on being a person of my word. I follow through on what I say I will do, and I expect others to do the same” That’s me even if I know that the others will probably wont keep their words. My promise for them is sacred no matter what.


    Think Always said:
    August 19, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Great post! I agree with this, and share the same compulsively when it comes to communication and reciprocity. Sometimes I am less reciprocal, if for example it involves gifts (gift giving is not my ‘gift’ lol), but I usually try to keep things reciprocal. For example, when someone likes or comments on one of my posts, I usually try to return the favor (you liked my last post so that’s one of the reasons I read this post). It’s a littl tiring to worry about reciprocity, as I’m sure you know, but I think leaders care about those things.

    Liked by 1 person

      lilpickmeup said:
      August 19, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      Thank you, I am huge on meeting people half way. It’s just my thing. I am a firm believer in Karma regardless if you are religious, spiritual, or atheist. I also learned to stop expecting things from people. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Think Always said:
        August 19, 2015 at 10:22 PM

        Yes. I always find your posts challenging in a good way. Solid psychology based advice.


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