No Strings Attached

December 5, 2008 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

By Lauren Kennedy

Another Universal Law was being discussed in a forum I read recently. It was the Law of Reciprocity.

This law, just like the Law of Attraction is not anything new. It has long been expressed in various ways. The Golden Rule, what goes around comes around, it all comes out in the wash and I am certain there are more. Every Prophet and teacher has endorsed a version of this law.

There were comments for and against the validity of the Law of Reciprocity. Sometimes we discount the Universal Laws due to our perspective. In the case of the Law of Reciprocity, we assume that if we give an apple, we will receive an apple. And we usually place a due date on our repayment.  The Universe has a broader perspective and a different agenda. Our true intentions and motives, our unresolved issues,  and our expectations greatly affect the results.

Here are a few examples to illustrate this point.

Mother Carol did everything she could for her children. She when to bat for them if they got in trouble at school. She spent evenings making certain that they completed their homework assignments perfectly so they would receive high marks in school. She did without to provide a substantial trust fund for them so that they could attend the best Universities and become wealthy, respected and influential adults.

However, after his high school graduation, one son decided that he would rather join the Peace Corp and use his trust fund to support his travels to  assist people in countries that had been devastated by drought, disease or war.

Mother Carol felt betrayed. After all her efforts, he was going to throw away the opportunities for which she had sacrificed her time, money and effort to provide him.

Mother Carol’s assistance was not freely given. She had an expectation of payment. She expected her son to repay her with his life choices.

Deacon Bob was a respected member of his church. He made a point of being available to advise his fellow parishioners who lacked his faith and self discipline. He spent vacations doing missionary work to save the souls of the primitive population. Many Saturdays, he helped out at the food pantry so the children, whose parents’ couldn’t seem to keep a job, would not go hungry. Deacon Bob was going to great lengths to  assure himself a  reservation in heaven.

Then one night his oldest daughter ran a red light as she returned home from a tavern. She was intoxicated and hadn’t noticed that the light had changed. The resulting accident  left a woman paralyzed.

Deacon Bob knew he  had set a good example for his children.  Now her sins had harmed another person and reflected poorly on his role as a father.  How could God allow his daughter to humiliate him.

Deacon Bob gave to gain the admiration of the church, to be recognized for his faith and loyalty to God, and to assure his place in heaven. Due to his self righteous attitude, he judged others who did not measure up to his religious standards. He was not giving freely. He made a transaction. And he has already been paid.

Suzy seldom turns down a request. She has allowed people to stay in her home for months at a time. She has loaned out her car and money. She puts her plans or goals on the back burner or changes them altogether to keeps others happy.But no one seems to appreciate her.

But at least they need her.

Suzy has traded her life for approval. She, too, has been paid.

Allen helped his unemployed brother find a job, helped him with the down payment for an apartment, and gave him his old car, since he could always write it off on his taxes. Three months later, Allen learned that his brother had lost the job and the apartment because he could not get to work on time.

Allen felt he had been a patsy and vowed to make certain that he only helped people that truly deserved it from then on.

Allen was upset because he perceived that his efforts had been a failure. But that is just his perspective.  Perhaps in spite of his brother’s inability to follow through, Allen’s concern had meant a great deal to him. And perhaps, remembering Allen’s acts of caring and support will motivate him to find a solution to his issues.

We create who we are and who we will become in each moment, with every action. It is not the outcome of our actions that creates our character, it is our true intentions, our attitude and our choices. Furthermore, no human has the insight, knowledge or foresight to judge which individual is worth lending a helping hand. Nor is it our place to do so.

If I give with expectations attached, if I give to assure a particular outcome, if I give for approval, respect, admiration or reward, if I give to leverage control, or if I keep a tally sheet comparing what I have given with what I have received, then I am not truly giving. I am making a trade. I am expecting a reward. I am getting paid.

It is when we do something for someone just because it needs to be done and we are able to do it, that we are giving freely. And then, only if we do not use it as a badge of honor, but let it fade from our memory the same way we would soon forget about opening a door for a person with a child in either arm.

Even so, that is no guarantee that we won’t be gotten.

I have become a fairly generous person. However, a situation comes to mind in which I was taken for a ride. An unpleasant one.

A Lesson Learned for which I Paid Dearly

When I first began my  internet business, I discovered I needed some instruction on technical aspects and internet marketing. I ended up loosing a substantial amount of money for services and mentoring that I purchased and never received, or I received significantly less than I was promised and for which I paid dearly.

My earlier life experience has taught me that  yes, “shit” happens. But when the same shit repeatedly happens to me, I need to look at my part. And I realized a few mistakes I had made.

The Mistakes

I had allowed the sales person to convince me to buy a service that cost more than I could comfortably afford  lose. I didn’t take time to research the organization, and I relented at the sales person insistence that I take immediate action, instead of following my personal rule to first sleep on it.  I had allowed my need for assistance and my desire to create a successful business take precedence. The result was that I bought their pitch instead of listening to my intuition.

The Issues
And I also realized that I had a few tendencies that I needed to address.

I realized that I need to focus my awareness so I realize when someone pushes my self doubt triggers.  Then I can choose to respond from my knowledge and gut “knowing” rather than react to my triggered emotions.  I discovered that paying top dollar doesn’t necessarily mean that you get quality service. The experience reinforced the knowledge that I must  trust my experience,  my abilities, my insight, my determination and creativity  to produce the results I desire. Trying to rush the outcome for the illusion of a comforting guarantee is self defeating.  From then on, I vowed to stop second guessing the validity and merit of my ideas and insights,  because then someone else inevitably beats me to the punch, or the market.

While the lessons I acquired do not excuse unscrupulous tactics, the result is that I am a more capable business woman, I learned the value of trusting my instincts, I found a effective marketing coach with integrity, and I discovered that am more capable than I had realized.

Failure Experienced results in Fear Lessened
I inevitably felt that I had failed by mismanaging the financial end of the business. While rather unpleasant at the time, it didn’t destroy me. Now failure is less of a boogey man. So perhaps, in the larger picture, I wasn’t ripped off after all.

It was still quite an expensive lesson however.

My vote  on the validity of the Law of Reciprocity is a resounding “YES” .  I know that it works. Although there have been many times that I have felt betrayed,  ripped off, or stabbed in the back, there was always a truth to be realized, a caution light to be heeded,   an awareness be  revealed, or a belief that needed adjustment.

And in the growing expanse of my life, I have been the recipient of generosity out of the blue, when I most needed it.  I have recovered from or averted situations that logically should have devastated or ended my life. And I have overcome obstacles and resolved personal issues that others were betting would destroy me.

However there actually is a payoff for striving to honestly and freely give of ourselves  and graciously receive – even the unpleasantness.

I have experienced it.

It is an inner sense of worth, personal freedom, self efficacy,  and empowerment that grows with each choice to give freely, without expectation or a hidden agenda.

There is no better payoff than that.

And it’s a freebie.

Post your thoughts, experiences or feelings about this article. I look forward to reading all of them.


Entry filed under: Feelings and Emotions. Tags: , , , , .

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Our life is an evolving creation, shaped by our choices, colored by our desires, and lightened or darkened by our intentions.
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