Dying Daily #170: Motives and Other People

Other people come up a lot on this blog, almost always in the context of examining how they are not the source of any of our problems.

Today isn’t really any different.

In talking about our motives, the idea of the things we do for others came up, which led to thinking about how often helping others brings nothing in return, or, somewhat unfortunately, brings something negative in return.

It is funny to watch my mind when these things happen. It starts spinning off into all these scenarios about how the other person should have done this or how they shouldn’t have done that. About how people just cannot be trusted or that they were just using me.

First of all, none of this is verifiable at all, it is the kicking and screaming of a human that is involved in a situation that did not go as they expected it to. We are wired to dislike things we cannot control, so this brings distress. Reaction or attachment to this distress causes suffering, and we start creating stories to explain it all away.

Secondly, this is a chance to check our motives.

Did I help this person so they would like me or with the expectation of something in return? If so, then I was being manipulative and I deserve what I get. Being manipulative creates dishonest interactions with people and we do not get to complain.

The blueprints were drawn up wrong, the building is going to collapse. End of story.

If I helped them simply to help them, then this is an issue of expectations or hopes. Maybe I was seeking connection or a new friend or whatever. Even this is slightly manipulative unless it was stated upfront. It’s a little more positive, but it is still doing one thing and hoping for another.

Now, if I helped only to help and for no other reason, then how they respond or what they do is irrelevant. I did my thing, they did their thing, that’s it. There is no reason for suffering or anger or whining to come into play.

Help people because it is the right thing to do.

What they do after that is not within your control nor is it your business, so there is no reason to be troubled by it.

Move on.