The daily interactions with the world in our personal or professional lives are essentially transactions where we give and receive.
What we give, the kind of people that we transact with and what we receive in return sums up our life chores.
We wake up in the morning and clean up ourselves to obtain a hygiene standard, we eat to have the necessary nutrients our body demands.
We go to school, to colleges, to our workplaces and dedicate our time and energies to receive an educational degree or an income that ultimately supports us and our families.
These are the linear trade-offs humans ensure for their survival.
Such relationships can never be one dimensional, for you cannot be giving into something continuously without getting something in return.
At the same time, you cannot be receiving something without a reasonable amount of contribution from your end.
If you work for an organization you expect to get a salary at the end of the month, if you join a gym and sweat hard you expect to get good health and form over a point in time.
Likewise, if you buy a car, you expect it to give you a desired standard of comfort and convenience.
It is against the human will and virtue to have a disparity in such trade-offs, a man must strive to maintain the equilibrium as the reverse would be fatal to his progress and well-being.
Furthermore, these transactions occur with people with whom you do not hold close personal relationships and expect nothing but tangible receivables. Eg: salary and promotion from your employer through hours given at work, health and fitness from your gym instructor through the membership fees and hours put into the gym, wealth creation through your investments or a business you have been into.
As you notice, you do not normally have a close-affinity relationship with the employer or the gym instructor beyond the give and take relation.
If you only had to slog for hours at work without getting a salary on time, or if you kept working out in the gym without getting the desired health benefit, this would be fatal and result in you terminating the relationship with the employer or the gym.
It is therefore, crucial that a tangible balance be maintained in such transactions for the harmony of the relation to be long term and fruitful.
At an intermediary stage of the relationship chain, we conduct dealings with people with whom we share a greater affinity and hence is inadvisable to transact in the above linear transactional pattern.
With most of our friends, relatives, colleagues we would invest or give something of us not expecting them to return the favour.
However, we do expect their attention, loyalty, camaraderie and support in times when we need it.
This is an innate human need which is not explicitly demanded, but implicitly yearned from those who revolve in our ecosystem.
One would not expect a sum lent to a relative or friend in distress to be returned immediately, but would desire the bonding to strengthen and the favour to be returned in some other form when needed or called out.
An hour spent with a colleague listening to his / her personal problems doesn’t mean he / she would visit us the next day with that time to give you an earful to your problems.
This however, would ensure strong working synergies at your workplace as you would desire while lending that one hour of yours.
We as humans form these abstract relationship transactions to create the society around us.
We hand pick the ones we desire to have such relationships from a crowd by offering to help or give a part of us.
Unlike the linear transactional relationship pattern, we do not expect a tangible return at a defined interval but as a transactional relationship pattern we do expect gratitude and loyalty from the receiver which is spread over time.
However, when the time arises, the payback decides how the relationship eventually shapes up.
During distress, a friend, relative or colleague who avoids to be with you is a signal of him / her backing out of this transactional trade off.
This can only go on to prove toxic, if one holds on to such relationship trade-offs, as it would only burden the giver with heaps of false expectations and desires.
At the peak of the relationship pyramid are the transactions with your loved ones, your family and your closest circle of friends.
At this level, none of the above transactional relationship values hold true, for this is the platform where one gives without an expectation from the receiver.
When we devote our time, or provide something to our loved ones it is done in expectation of nothing.
There is no visible transactional pattern of give and take, the only receivable a man has in such relationships is eternal happiness.
We supply food, shelter, means of education and other necessities to our children not expecting them to return it to us when they grow up.
We shower our love, time and attention to our better halves or partners unconditionally not expecting them to return it in the same custom or with some other materialistic favour.
We take care of our parents not because we have a point to prove to society or an external world, but we genuinely are concerned of their being.
We would go the distance for that dear friend to see him through the hardship faced and never expect anything out of it.
This is where true happiness for any individual dwells, in the realms of nothing.
True happiness, as there are no expectations from the receiver to reciprocate, we would do it irrespective of the circumstance, reason or logic.
One might argue, wouldn’t a relationship without expecting anything from the other person turn toxic at times? What if there is no reciprocation at all!
It would be, if the circle you define is too large for you to fulfil. One cannot please everyone and hence needs to handpick carefully only those on whom an eternal trust relationship is established.
Hence trust becomes an important function of true happiness we want to endeavour. You cannot be happy with someone you do not trust.
This is how our moral code and ethics are or should be formed.
We must distinguish the level of self-interest we must pursue in our daily interactions and relationships for our own good and not have a similar rule for all.
Here is the reason why ambitions, life goals, relationships fail. We do not map the right expectation from the people we interact or transact within our daily lives.
In a transaction where we need to strive hard for personal economic growth, status and appreciation for the effort we devote, we go on toiling without being rewarded or appreciated with the same organisation, people and colleagues.
Instead, we need to create avenues where our skills can be better mapped which would be more rewarding than what is been received until now.
We fail to build a healthy society around us by reminding friends, relatives or colleagues constantly of the favours we have done and not received anything in return.
We do not respect the spread of time and that time itself will balance the transaction and create healthier bonds with the people whom we daily interact with.
On the flipside, we get into the highest level of relationships with the wrong set of people who end up taking due advantage of our generosity than being thankful.
At the highest level on the relationship pyramid, we fail miserably with our loved ones as we keep transacting in a linear relationship pattern (seldom) or a non-linear relationship pattern (often).
In a marriage, we expect our partner to bring all that we have offered in the same measure to the table than to acknowledge the variation of correspondence.
With our children, we expect them to provide for us in the same way we provided for them while they were growing up instead of being dependent on ourselves.
Close friendships turn sour because you expect the friend to bail you out and stand by you even when you have done something wrong and have been corrected.
We need to look deep within to align our transactional relationship platforms to give in our best and hence receive the best in return.
The art of giving shapes the way we evolve as humans, people and importantly as a confidante to the ones we matter the most.