Motives for kind actions:

  • You feel their pleasure by empathising (I think this is the most pure motive)
  • You are able to boost your sense ofself worth.
    • Define yourself as a “good person”. – This always stems from insecurity.
    • Following your philosophical principles (religious, humanist etc.). (also a good motivation in my view).
  • You want them to give you something. Money (directly or indirectly), trust, acceptance, love, sex, opportunities. This drive for self gain could be relatively harmless to others or come in the form of manipulation.

 

Why does this matter? A kind action is a kind action regardless of the intentions behind it the outcome is the same.

I guess it says something about a person’s character. Many people are ego based in their motivations. They will be kind to get things out of people to fulfil ego driven desires that they have probably been carrying around since childhood.

Examples of kindness driven by the wrong motivations:

  • One who showers kindness with the ego centric motive to feel loved and accepted.
  • One who is more interested in creating the perception of being kind than in the kindness itself. Battling their low sense of self worth by being kind so that they are able to define themselves as a “good person” – it will be very important to them that others are aware of these kind actions consider them a “good person”.
  • One who is kind as a conscious manipulative ploy to get something from someone.

A more developed person will be kind because they really feel the happiness within others through empathising. Their actions will also be based on strong principles of how they believe they should live. They will almost never use kind actions as a tool for getting things out of people because they will know that good things will flow their way just be being kind in general since everyone loves kind people.

So thinking on it more, we always get something out of being kind to others. We always get something positive out of everything we do otherwise we wouldn’t do them; whether it be something material or fulfilling some kind of abstract philosophical belief.

I guess to me this matters when determining what place a person should have in my life. I respect those who are more “pure” and “egoless” in their motivations.

Just like physical fitness there is also mental fitness. Everyone knows that if you want to be able to run long distances you have to train your body by continuously forcing it to the point of exhaustion, gradually improving stamina. I don’t think that it occurs to many people that they can do this with their minds as well.

I am always reminding myself to stay conscious and keep thinking, exhaustion is just an opportunity to improve stamina. It is amazing how much this improves quality of life by providing energy to improve relationships (probably the most mentally demanding task we have in life) and getting out there doing stuff.

After some time, thinking becomes much easier and clearer. Moving from being the mental equivalent of a couch potato to the mental equivalent of a marathon runner.

Life is consciousness.

Many people describe themselves as “passionate” when they are really just prone to swinging between emotional extremes. Real passion is a concentrated focus of pure emotion towards something. There must be a conscious meaning structure driving it forward. Passion is caring.

If the so called passion is based only on feelings with no deeper reasoning then it will quickly fizzle out (sometimes after driving us into an undesirable situation or relationship). genuinely passionate person will always have a clear explanation behind all the things they are passionate about.

I think most people avoid being passionate because it means raising one’s expectations, it means pursuit, it means effort. This makes us vulnerable to failure. And most of us are inherently afraid of failure. We develop a coping mechanism of shield ourselves from failure by trying not to care too much about anything or anyone.

This leads to the greatest failure of all. A life paralysed by fear. A life partially lived.

This moment, this ephemeral transition of time.

This moment of intense feeling. An overwhelming awareness. An infinite sense of presence.

Sorrow, that this moment will soon pass, likely forgotten.

Or, one of the exceptional few to endure as a faint dream.

Joy, that this moment will soon pass, succeeded in the continuous stream of experience.

This moment of intense feeling. An overwhelming awareness. An infinite sense of presence.

This moment.

When we are in any type of relationship we hold a set of expectations for the each other. We are constantly doing this without thinking too much about it. I decided to try to break this process down into its elements to get a clearer understanding. I think if we better understand this, we can be more mindful of our expectations and thus significantly improve all our relationships.

What do we usually base our expectations on?

They are often based on what we are used to from past experience and our idea of what is ‘normal’ in any particular relationship category. For example, if someone has a childhood where they are abused or neglected then they might go on to live their lives expecting this from everyone. The same goes for spoiled children who usually grow up expecting a lot more from others than they end up getting and at the same time not really doing much in return.

In close relationships people with low self-worth generally have lower expectations (they don’t feel they deserve it) and those with higher self-worth have higher ones (they know they deserve it). However, I have noticed that in many cases the same people with high self-worth will have lower expectations for loose ties than for those with low self-worth. Probably because people with low self-worth want everyone to like them where as high self-worth people only care about the love of their inner circle.

What to do when expectations are not met?

There will be cases where one holds higher expectations of someone than they are either capable of or willing to meet. This will lead to conflict and various emotional responses and can put the whole relationship into question. It is important to reach an understanding of what you expect from each other and if these expectations can be met.

If someone lets you down or “hurts” you, the first question you have to ask is, “Is it fair for me to place this expectation on them?” If the answer is “no” then you should no longer feel let down. If the answer is “yes” then you have to ask yourself, “Do I need to lower my expectations for this person?” Maybe it is just a one off event, you can solve it through communicating your feelings and thoughts and sorting it out. But if this is a serious issue or something that keeps happening repeatedly then you have to consider lowering your expectations.

The next question you have to ask yourself after lowering your expectations for this individual is, “With this new set of expectations, what role do I see this person taking in my life moving forward?” This is where you have to decide how much distance such a person should have from you. Lowering expectations will create distance because closeness and expectations both move in the same direction. This could range from a slight downgrade of the relationship to a termination of it.

Other thoughts…

Usually I try to match my expectations for someone with what they are capable of from the start so there is never an issue. People who I have low expectations for stay at an appropriate distance and those that I have high expectations for remain close. But sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes I put higher expectations on someone than I should. Usually because of some sentimental reasons leading me to wish better from them to justify my attachment, thus avoiding the inevitable result of having to break that attachment and redefine the relationship to a lower level. That is a painful thing to do but an important thing to do.

It is also important not to just focus on your expectations of others but on their expectations of you. Throughout life people may put various expectations on you which you will not meet. It is your responsibility to help others manage their expectations of you by communicating clearly.

Most people go through life unconsciously assigning expectations to people and not really understanding what they are doing or why. If we aren’t mindful of this we can look forward to a lifetime of relationship problems which may result in becoming a hermit with an unhealthy passion for cats.

- Please comment if you disagree with something.

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