One good turn deserves another?

Mel Weese

You’d think saving someone’s life would mean they’d show a little kindness in return, write practitioner Mel Weese.

by Mel Weese

Have you ever felt that? Ok, so maybe not about something as dramatic as saving someone’s life and then being floored about how self-centered they seem later. But how about in everyday situations? Like going to work every day and giving it your all while resenting the boss who never so much as acknowledges your efforts? Or the frustration you feel after arranging your entire schedule around your teen-aged daughter’s extracurricular activities only to have her glare at you (when you can’t accommodate a last-minute request) and say “you never do anything for me!” Or feeling angry that the guy doesn’t even call you after you’ve had a really great evening together.

All of these situations and my own involving saving a life, have something in common. And that is, all too often we do something and then later, unconsciously, expect to get something in return. We put our expectation of how the other person should respond into the equation and usually this is done without ever communicating it to the other person. It just becomes this invisible “other side of the deal” that we put in place and compare reality against. And typically, when reality dishes up something different from what we’ve put out there as a fair-value exchange, we get frustrated, angry and even resentful about the other people involved because they didn’t measure up to the expectations we’re holding.

This idea of putting our expectations of how others should behave onto others and expecting them to comply with our wishes is a guaranteed recipe for disappointment and resentment. It’s the same as keeping score or only doing things to get something back in return. As in, “I’ll save your life if, in return, from this moment on, you’ll become a caring person which will make my life easier.”

Pretty unrealistic, huh?

At the time, I didn’t save this fella’s life to secure some “get out of conflict free card” to be used later. I did it because he wasn’t gonna make it otherwise. On the verge of death, he didn’t ask if I’d save him with a vow that he’d pay me back. He wasn’t even conscious at the time so he wasn’t involved in the decision. I simply did what needed to be done in a very challenging situation.

So years later, when he shows up in my world as someone whose actions I really don’t care for because they’re making my life very stressful and, in response, I feel increasing resentment because, well, I did save his life and all; this resentment towards him and the situation is my issue and has nothing to do with him. Sounds like a bit of a bitter pill to swallow but it’s how it is. We don’t go through life doing in order to get back in return. Or, stated more accurately, we don’t happily go through life doing in order to get back in return.

But unfortunately that is the pattern many of us unconsciously fall into when we’re in challenging situations and especially when the situations have been going on for any length of time. From this pattern of wanting to get back a fair exchange for our efforts, all sorts of feelings like anger, frustration and resentment show up. We get caught up in an expectation trap, whereby we impose our values and beliefs onto others and expect them to act these out. And, when the other people don’t respond as we’d like, we blame them for our uncomfortable feelings about the situation.

The reality is, people are going to show up as who they are, complete with all their own stuff; just as we do. And the best thing we can do is allow them to be who they are without trying to mould them into our version of who or what we think they should be.

So in your life, if someone else’s actions aren’t in keeping with what you’d like, consider asking yourself some questions because it’s ultimately about something within you and they are simply triggering it. Remember, people can’t push your buttons if you don’t have buttons! If you’re upset by someone else’s actions (or in-actions), look within yourself and ask what’s there for you to see and what you can do about the situation so you feel better?

Sometimes it’s simply enough to become aware that you’re imposing unrealistic and unfair expectations on others and by noticing this, you can take steps to change your pattern. Sometimes it comes down to needing to have a real and honest conversation with the other person. Such as, having a discussion to let the other person know about your needs that aren’t currently being met and then asking the other person for what you want. Sometimes it’s an opportunity for you to step back and reconsider the entire situation and whether or not it’s still a fit for you. And sometimes, it’s an opportunity to dig really deep and ask: What is it about the other person’s actions that bother you that you also do when interacting with people? Or the flip side: What is it about their actions that you’d like to do when interacting with people but you aren’t doing it because you don’t know how? These are big questions that often hold the keys to overcoming the pattern of being upset by others’ actions.

In all cases, remember that you are responsible for your reactions to the situations in your life. And you are responsible for choosing what you do about them. If you take on this responsibility, you will break the pattern of blaming others or attempting to make others responsible for your feelings and your situations. Consider that other people are in our lives to mirror back to us what we might focus on for our own growth and evolution. When we’re around others who rub us the wrong way, rather than blaming them, contemplate instead that they’re there to show us what we might look at and resolve within ourselves to feel better forevermore. In doing this, we move from being the victims of our circumstances to being the creators of our life experiences.

As for me, I probably would save that fella’s life again (just kidding, I would) even though I know how it turns out years later. The whole experience has provided me with a really good opportunity to dig deep and look at the unrealistic expectations I’ve held for how people should or shouldn’t behave. And then to work through this stuff-of-mine using the questions above. I’ve had some really big shifts around my expectations about the life-saving-situation-fella as well as about a few other people and situations that came up in the process. Through this questioning and reflecting process, I’ve arrived at a calm and peaceful place about allowing other people to be who they are regardless of how it is they do that.

It might not always be easy, but, it’s very rewarding standing in my truth that my world is my creation and when others show up who rub me the wrong way resulting in feelings of anger, frustration or resentment, it’s just an opportunity for me to dig deeper and clear up my own outdated beliefs and patterns.

If you have any situations in your life where you’re feeling angry, frustrated or resentful about others, I invite you to try this approach and let me know how it goes.

Mel Weese
Live In The Moment

Got an article?

If you’ve written an article about EFT or another meridian energy therapy, or reviewed a book or DVD and would like to share your work, just submit it to EmotionalBuzz for publication. Remember to include your email address or business website address.

Add article (100kb max):

If you have pictures to go with your article, embed them in the Word file.

Before submitting this form, please enter the characters you see in this image: Image verification

Free newsletter