As a kid, maybe thanks to fairytales I had this general idea of karma; of good winning over evil; of cause and effect and people owing something to other people if they did something for them.
So for example with my penpal, I sent her a letter and then she owed me a letter. Simple, right? I think we often still live by this rule; some people more than others and in more ways than others. Take a minute to think about where this may be true for you; what your hidden agendas are. If you make your partner a cup of tea, does he then owe you the next one? Because you’ve sacrificed to bring up your children, do they owe it to you to look after you in your old age? If you go to work for someone do they owe you money?
Aha! Yes, one would expect to get paid for going to work. But here’s the difference. It is clearly laid out, hopefully; what you will and won’t do for that money. There is no hidden agenda, it’s quite visible. We may need that money to live on, so we make sure we receive it. Society has made this quite acceptable and we are stressed if we don’t get paid.
So many hidden ‘you owe me’ agendas are exactly that – hidden. Things come unstuck if the other person doesn’t know that they owe you. Trying telling a teenager that they owe you because you pay the bills, do all the gardening and upkeep of the house, or gave them a lift! I do try but it doesn’t really work, to be honest.
This ‘You owe me’ attitude can lead to a lot of heartache, especially if you are too anxious about what others think, to lay down any ground rules first. I have to question why I do stuff ‘for’ my kids and be sure that I am doing it in the right headspace, without them owing me anything. I say ‘for’ because for example when I was cleaning the pool and sewing bench seat cushions over the weekend, I realised it was actually for me, not them. I have to do it because I want to, to be at peace in my own head. And when I don’t want to, I simply don’t. I might go on cooking strike for weeks on end, or refuse to give them a lift again until their room is tidy. You find your own way and your own boundaries.
So back when I was a kid, I would get quite upset at all sorts of things which now no longer bother me. Nobody owes it to me to keep in touch or to return
my phone call or text or email, or make me a cup of coffee. I am far from perfect though. My weak spot can still distress me. If someone owes me money I generally want it back unless I can rationalise it in my head with all they’ve done for me. I’d like to lose that one, one day.
Blogging taught me a lot about letting go of ‘you owe me’. I hope you realise you don’t owe me a thing by the way! If anything I owe you – eternally. I owe you life lessons which will hold me in good stead. I owe you thanks for giving me any attention and your precious time. I owe you for your lovely comments and support.
We don’t owe it to each other to follow those that follow us, or to read everything another writes. I selfishly try to blog each day for myself, and I can’t possibly demand that anyone takes time out of their precious life to read my ramblings every day! If I comment on your blog, you don’t owe me a reply. I comment if it solidifies something for me and makes me happy to comment at the time. If I get the bonus of a reply, that’s a gift; not something you owe me.
Have you looked at your internal beliefs and rules of where you think you owe other people? Sometimes we are pretty harsh on ourselves. We think we owe something to someone even if we would not expect it of them, should the roles be reversed. Watch out for that!! That is surely the path to being used or feeling guilty and stressed all the time, wasting valuable memory with a balance sheet of what you ‘should’ do.
So I hope you realise you don’t owe me. No one actually owes me anything and life is a lot calmer and simpler that way. No hidden agendas, only nice surprises.