On Reciprocal Kindness…

Friendship and love are two-way streets. Without reciprocal kindness and mutual respect, they quickly fall off track.

“When a man is guided by the principles of reciprocity and consciousness, he is not far from the moral law. Whatever you do not wish for yourself, do not do unto others” – Confucius.

Whatever you do wish for yourself, do unto others. Like a mirror, the reflection of your actions will manifest in your own life.

When you are granted the blessing of becoming friends or falling in love with someone who has kind attributes, you must nurture the relationship through appreciation and reciprocation. If the person in question is so extremely kind and generous that you are unsure if you can meet them halfway, you have two choices: to rise up to the occasion, or to walk away. I would recommend the former. If you choose the latter because you feel you are unworthy or because you want to keep the graces you have for yourself, you will end up living your life alongside people just like you. Even if you try to keep the givers around, they will soon recognize the abuse and leave you behind. Imagine that life. If you put 5 open drains in a swimming pool, give it a few hours and see how the water runs out. No matter how quickly you pour into a system like that, it will be to no avail.

We are all capable of loving compassion and respect. We are all capable of kindness and generosity. We are all capable of growth, learning, and success. If we are intentional about being givers, we will always find that we have more than enough to give. This is a cycle that feeds itself.

In the same way, we are also all capable of spiraling down a negative cycle of lack. By complaining incessantly, telling ourselves that we don’t have enough and using this as an excuse not to give to others, we cut ourselves off from those who are already givers. We lose access to the fountain of life. This is a cycle that feeds itself too, and it has created many monsters. Do not be fooled by the wealthy in assets and poor of spirit. Even if they ruled the world, they will never find enough water to quench their thirst.

The choice is always ours. Which of the two do you want to be: a giver, or a taker?

Everything in life is a give and take. Those who see the universe as an abundant source of gifts become givers. Those who see the universe as a black hole of lack become takers.

Those who give will be given plenty.

Those who only take will find great losses.

Every action has a reaction of equal force, in the opposite direction.

If you are a giver who is frustrated by the takers in your life, you are not alone. I’ve walked ten thousand miles in your shoes. I know it can be tempting to let your giving spirit weaken. I know that the life of a taker can seem easy and appealing. I also know that you just can’t accept to switch off your instincts without tremendous psychological consequences. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that helped:

  • When you give, do not expect to receive your time, love, energy or money back from the same person. God gives back to you. The universe gives back to you. Pay attention.
  • Choose your giving wisely. Being a giver does not mean working for free in a profit driven environment. Save your volunteering for non-profit organizations. Giving does not mean leaving nothing for yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Giving does not mean giving to everyone without discrepancy. Make critical choices, and give to those who will use your gifts, be they your time, energy, talents, or money, to better the world. Good luck does not rain down on fools. Giving does not necessarily mean taking from yourself. In a world of abundance, there is no zero sum game.
  • When you are taken advantage of, learn to walk away. Reserve your energy for the path that will multiply the gift.
  • When you take, accept with grace and keep on paying it forward.
  • What your left hand has given, let not your right hand know… EXCEPT when the impact of sharing the information with the world helps to keep the cycle of love going.

Stay firm in your intention, my friends.

And remember… we design our own luck!


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