Growing up, my parents always taught me to give without expecting to receive anything in return for the sole reason to make someone else happy or to help the other person.
Growing up, I realised just how hard this was.
I was (and still am) very involved in charity work with my temple. I knew, and was very grateful for, the privilege that I was brought up with and wanted to share it with others. However, the concept of Nishkam Karma isn’t something most children will get. I still expected a “Thank you!” or “God bless you, dear” from the people I helped. Yes, I know it’s wrong but I’ve been working on trying to just help for the sake of helping. What I have been struggling with is on a more personal level.
I tend to romanticise things and hope for a movie ending. I come up with these ideas in my head of alternate realities and how this could happen if I do this and that could happen if I do that but none of them ever materialise and I’m left feeling a tad disappointed. For example, I’d stay up until midnight to wish my friends for their birthdays and they’d only remember mine when they got a Facebook notification. I’d check in on friends when they were sick and expect them to do the same but be left with an “Oh man, where you been?” when I returned.
Now just typing it I feel a little silly but I still wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong with me that I’m constantly putting in all of the effort in a friendship and the friend doesn’t see me as worthy of their effort. It’s even at the point where if I don’t initiate a conversation then days could go by without the person feeling the need to talk to me.
I’m not a very clingy friend and I’m not asking for their undivided attention. I’m asking for some reciprocity. I’m asking to not feel alone. I’m asking for friendship.
I could, of course, just go out and find new friends who would appreciate me but that brings with it problems that won’t fit in this blog post as well as the personal attachment I already have to the people in my life.
What I am trying to work on instead is being comfortable with what is. Don’t confuse this with settling. It’s me being happy to spend some time with just myself. It’s me focusing on the positives in my life. It’s me being grateful for what I have and not wallowing about what I don’t have.
I haven’t exactly figured it out yet but I’m actively trying.