Tit-for-Tat: Game Over

26 Jun

Egocentricism is nothing new.  Part of human development, the most disturbing thing about egocentricism is the shift of each generation closer to the mentality of “me first” and further away from “me last.”

Sure, a good self-esteem is crucial to successful relationships at home and at work.  However, a good self-esteem, from a Christian perspective, has nothing to do with self, and everything to do with selflessness.

Yet, more and more apparent in our circles of friends, among family members, in church groups, and in philanthropic groups is this idea that nothing can be given unless something can be gained.  We see it in business, and we see how successful smart business management incorporates that concept, and before we know it, we have moved that mentality into our lives.

Does anyone do anything anymore just for the sake of being nice, or helping someone out, or because it is simply the right thing to do? 

Even in my own life, I am not sure I can answer that question honestly to the affirmative.   Even in my own life, where I struggle with relationships anyway, I find myself giving and giving and giving (maybe not what the person was hoping for or expecting), and then I have my expectations dashed to bits as none that I had given is or was reciprocated.

Do you find yourself in similiar situations?  Do you ever feel like you have given and given and given just to be taken advantage of or written off when you could give no more?

I am very frustrated by the tit-for-tat mentality I see all around me- that I often see in myself.  To be honest, I am most hurt when I am the victim of tit-for-tat rationale than I am when someone lashes out at me in anger.  I try very hard to give selflessly.  I also try very hard to make sure what I do give is not second-rate.  I try even harder to give with no expectations.

However, I have also learned that to be given anything these days all too often comes with a series of strings attached.  So I have learned not to ask for help, not even from friends.  I cannot commit to invisible strings, the hidden hand, that gets pulled tight and snaps when I am unable or, sometimes unwilling, to return the gesture.  I cannot tolerate helping someone out and getting the impression from them that they feel they “owe” me something in return.  When I am the one getting help, when I get that impression, I want so badly to turn away the “help.”  I do not need the kind of help that reserves the right to call in favors when it suits that person. 

Because, you see, the whole tit-for-tat game is centered on the egocentric.  You know the person.  The one who only ever talks about themselves.  They offer you a measely two or three minutes to talk, then get “distracted,” change the subject, and spend the next thirty or forty minutes going on and on about themselves.   The one that jumps at the chance to “help,” but only if it can benefit themselves or can make them look good somehow.  The one that consistently uses up one friendship and moves to another under the guise of “networking,” but has really just tapped a particular relationship of all it could give so it carries no worth to them anymore.

So, for me, I am cutting out the tit-for-tat game.  If I was not able to give enough for someone or to someone, and yet it was all I could give, then I will have to make peace with that.  However, I pity the people who only develop relationships that they think can be used to benefit them in some way.  There is so much more to an honest friendship than what someone might be able to bring to the table. 

So how do you value your relationships? 

When you give, do you give out of a desire to please, out of a desire to gain something, or out of a desire to build up? 

Do you find yourself hanging on to expectations when you give something to someone or when you offer your hand in help?  

Do you keep a mental log at the back of your mind of all you might have given or done for someone, and then get hurt when the tally sheet does not add up? 

Do you keep a tally sheet at all?

In this year that I am struggling to make so many changes, will you join me in dsicarding that tally sheet?  Join me as I throw away the tit-for-tat game and as I cut those invisible strings so we can give, and help, and build relationships with no strings attached and less expectations in return.

God bless!

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Tit-for-Tat: Game Over”

  1. Christina Borden 27 June 2013 at 7:20 AM #

    Thank you for your comment. I do agree that all relationships have some give-and-take in order to make them work. That is not the problem of which I was writing. My point was that there is an obvious rise in the "me" mentality, which affects all relationships and throws the natural give-and-take off balance. No relationship should have someone giving their all, expectations aside, and then cast aside when what they have given was not what the receiver wanted or when the giver can give no more. My frustration is the "used up husk" feeling when you find yourself no longer useful to an egocentric friend. As for being ecocentric myself- yes. I am at times, which I am pretty sure I stated in the post. However, I see being egocentric as a character flaw and I strive not to be that way. Some seem to embrace it no matter how much it hurts the people around them. Thank you for commenting, I hope my response has clarified a little what I meant. 🙂

  2. Anonymous 26 June 2013 at 3:53 PM #

    Not sure I understand where you would draw the line. I do not think any relationship works without some give and take. When you stop giving, you cannot expect to have anything given back. Sorry that it sounds as if someone used you, but I get the definite impression that you are just as egocentric as anyone else.

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

A God-blessed Life

His blessings abound, no matter where He sends us.

%d bloggers like this: