Take a minute a think about who owes you something.
You may say, “I don’t owe anyone anything. And nobody owes me anything either,” but for most of us, its simply not true.
In our jobs, in our families, in our friendships, even with ourselves, we make contracts. These contracts detail what is owed and to whom.
Of course most of the time these contracts aren’t written down, but they are absolutely in effect.
Think about the last time you got upset or frustrated or hurt (these emotions often indicate a broken contract).
Play along just for a minute. Wait to continue reading until you have an episode in mind.
Now think about what contract was violated. You may resist this initial thought, you may think, there was no contract, that nothing was violated, but push past it.
If you dig into that situation or scenario, you may just be able to find a broken contract. Someone (or some company, etc.) owed you something and they didn’t deliver.
Maybe it was a boss not having your best interest in mind when they made a decision – was the contract that as long as you are sacrificing what you really want to be doing with your life to work there, they should treat you better than they are?
Maybe it was a friend or partner not taking the time to fully listen to you – was the contract that you listen to your friend and therefore the friend owes you the same courtesy?
Maybe it was something as simple as an object breaking down (your car, an appliance, a piece of furniture) – was the contract that because you paid for it, it should last forever (or at least longer than it did)?
Even though I generally adhere pretty closely to whatever contracts I find myself in, I don’t like feeling indebted.
I don’t want to owe anyone, and honestly, I don’t want anyone to owe me either.
The contracts feel tight.
This may be a radical thought, but what if we released those people / companies / objects from their obligation? If it easier, focus on the people.
Releasing them from owing us: satisfaction, longevity, loyalty, attention, fairness, affection, truthfulness, love.
I know what it feels like on my end when I’m able to do this.
It feels like liberation.
The social world will not fall apart, you will not become a recluse or a loner, your relationships will not disintegrate.
What you will introduce is the opportunity to see what people do for you as a gift. Without the pressure of expectation, they will be able to give of their own choice.
For instance, I’d much rather have someone give me their attention freely, than to feel obligated to provide it.
For the next few weeks, as often as it occurs to you, if you like, you can think to yourself, “No one owes me anything.”
You could even say it to yourself now.
And see if it makes you feel lighter and easier inside.
Let me know how it goes, ok? Send me an email.