Monday Notes: Ask Nothing; Just Be

We should ask nothing of others that we don’t ask of ourselves” – kelley from Black Burgundy.

I read this quote on kelley’s blog a month or so ago. It resonated so deeply with me that I typed it into my notes and vowed to write about it one day.

We should ask nothing of others that we don’t ask of ourselves. But we do it often. My father did this when he discovered he had Stage 4 throat cancer. He wanted me to demonstrate a self-less, compassionate, and giving love towards him, when many times he had not shown the same towards others, especially me. How could he expect me to do something that he had never done, and because he was dying, would never do? It baffled me for the first two years, until I made a choice and decided who he chose to be didn’t matter. All that mattered is who I chose to be because I had to sit with my own character.

We should ask nothing of others that we don’t ask of ourselves reminds me of a Jill Scott interlude. It’s called Willing. In it, Scott describes a relationship that all too many women may be used to. It’s a relationship where the man wants his mate to exhibit certain characteristics: “flawless,” “patient,” “willing,” “honest,” and “loyal,” just to name a few. Have you seen this type of romantic relationship? One person expects these qualities, but doesn’t offer it themselves. In fact, consciously or unconsciously, they may be the opposite: flawed, impatient, stubborn, dishonest, and disloyal, yet they desire something else.

We should ask nothing of others that we don’t ask of ourselves seems like commonsensical advice for all relationships, but I suppose it’s not. I have a great aunt, who is 96 years old. All of my life she’s never called me. In fact, she relies on her sister, my Grannie, to call, keep up with, and pass on information about my life’s happenings and me. However, in her later years, she’s become a widow, lost her eyesight to macular degeneration, and lost her mobility to old age. As she sits in her tiny apartment, this way of keeping up with me has stopped working for her. Her solution?

“Call me once a month,” she says.

Notice, she didn’t say, “I’ll call you once a month.” Instead, she wants me to do something that even she doesn’t plan to begin doing.

People are funny. And because of that, relationships and how we relate to one another and tend to one another’s needs (or not) are also laughable.

I’d advise that we stop this behavior and begin anew. Give to others what you desire. If you want love, then give love. If you want compassion, then be compassionate. If you want honesty, then tell the truth as much as possible. In this way, you’ll always have what you want because it will begin with you. And if you don’t have it to give, then it might be time to dig deep to figure out why.

Let me know what you think, and if you want to check out the Jill Scott interlude, here it is. It’s a little over a minute.

47 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Ask Nothing; Just Be

  1. This is such a great post! I know someone who has a dad that puts her through so much psychological abuse but he somehow always expects her to love him, care for him and honour him just because he spends money for the family. It really makes me sad when people give hate but expect love in return. Thank you so much for this post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again for reading and commenting Taiwo. I appreciate it. I’m glad this post resonated with you so much. I hope your friend eventually does what’s best for her. I, like your friend, had to learn to stop doing things out of obligation. All that does is breed resentment and anger. Anywho, sending you and her light and love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I was having this very topic today with someone. My family is good at this. Most of them won’t call, Facebook, text or anything with me and my immediate family, but want us to do it for them. But you can’t even call them out on it, because it’ll turn into an argument. Now, I just stopped doing for them who clearly won’t do the same. I just spread kindness, love, support, etc where to who’s deserving. Thanks a lot for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So true. Many expect what they may never have given themselves. Being a “helper”, I’ve learned do to things out of the goodness of my heart without expectation and if I choose to pull back, I simply do. Great thoughtful piece K!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Marquessa! I agree. In fact, the year I was of service each week really helped me to give “out of the goodness of my heart w/o expectation” even more. Today, I’m not bothered when people don’t say, “thank you,” or reciprocate…do or don’t lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a really touching topic. I had to learn the hard way when I was not receiving fulfilling/ honest relationships in my life and realized that it was because I was not giving that same energy towards others in my life. I’ve also been on the recieveing end.

    Did you ever feel guilty at all, especially with the relationship with your father? I have this issue with my family where they expect me to reach out to them even though I never felt loved by them as a child. But for someone reason I feel guilty for not reaching out especially because they are getting older.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I didn’t feel guilty at all. I wrote story about it where others seemed like they wanted me to second guess what I’d decided, but I wasn’t budging. It wasn’t until I thought about how I would want my daughters to help me (even though we have a different relationship than my father and I did) that I shifted how I chose to interact. And even then, I wasn’t bending over backwards for him just because he was terminally ill. I think you feel guilty because a lot of times people/we make one another feel guilty, instead of just saying, “hey those are her feelings and she’ll sort them out the best she can.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s why I’m so glad you wrote about this post because you don’t have to feel guilty and someone like me who’s experienced disappointment from family can see this and feel affirmed knowing that I should stand in my decision not to allow others to use me when it’s beneficial for them. This has made me feel better about my decision not to put us with being used when their care is not reciprocated. The hardest part for me is I still live with my family who treat me badly.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think that it’s important to give and receive in relationships, but I do respect that we all have our individual ways of doing that. Our ‘love languages’ may differ and we may need to learn someone else’s (especially in romantic relationships). That said, if it’s all one-sided, it just doesn’t work. Yet, as you said, we live with our own character. We have to be true to ourselves above all.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I understand the concept of Zukav’s love languages, but I dislike it. I mean, I understand that people can love and offer love in different ways, and MAYBE recognizing others’ love languages can alleviate the feeling of a lack of love; however, in my experience, and because I live far away from my family, they tend not to engage in anyway. For example, if someone’s love language is physical touch, but we live 1,000 miles away, then in my opinion, perhaps you have to consider another way to express affection and care, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes complete sense when you aren’t in the same geographic area. I’m thinking about my partner and I. Neither of us are overly affectionate, but we both show love in other ways. I’ve come to recognize his and he mine. But that didn’t happen right away. If we were apart, entirely different situation though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t mean to belabor this topic, but I have to say I think this happens a lot in familial relationships. If I’m not seeing you all the time, and I value gifts, but you miss my birthday, well, ya know…that can go left very quickly (ask me how I know) lol

        For romantic relationships, I can see how someone can go crazy like “I’m showing you love!” But the other person isn’t being loved the way they desire :-/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re probably right re familial relationships. I was blessed with a very close family and sometimes forget that is absolutely not the norm. We do talk all the time and we all know each other’s business and support one another. (Weird huh? Lol)
        If I was a romantic type or more into physical touch as a way of showing love I’d probably be right there with you. I’m afraid to say I’m sort of like a man in romance haha. I forget the little things. Luckily he and I on the same page.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. At the end of the day, we each have to live with our own choices. Kindness begets kindness, but it has to start someplace. Be first to extend an olive branch and see what happens. I like doing random acts of kindness because there can be no expectation of thanks or reciprocation, you just have to trust that Karma will meet you on the flip side. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. I agree with random acts of kindness and kindness does indeed beget kindness. I’ve also learned that I can do for someone else, but it’s returned from a totally different person. I think sometimes we believe if we give to Mary, then Mary’s going to give back to us. That’s not always how it happens. So, yes, I agree that karma will always meet you where you are.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From a strictly accounting point of view, giving and receiving never come out even. You can’t give with the hope or expectation of getting the time, money, or energy back in equal measure or you will be disappointed. Is it better to give what we want to give, or give what the recipient would want to receive? They might prefer $100 cash to a charitable donation in their name, but since I’m doing the giving, I get to choose. Should the sibling in my family who lives near my parents (and so enjoyed free childcare when her kids were young) owe them more in their old age than the rest of us? In my opinion, yes. Reciprocity may not come out even, but it still counts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aha! That’s a very good point Joan. And I think that last bit is where we do get into trouble because we think of ALL those years of free childcare we gave, but when it comes time to ask the daughter/son for care cause I’m older, they might not give it. Such a good point. That’s why I’m sure to always do exactly as I wish in a situation, not what I think will provide a return…because you’re so right…it won’t be even lol

        Liked by 1 person

  7. In the busy-ness of life, I’ve been sleeping on my Jill Scott! Yes! I have to put her back into my Women’s Studies course. But this??? “In this way, you’ll always have what you want because it will begin with you. And if you don’t have it to give, then it might be time to dig deep to figure out why.” Yes!!! 10 times this. But…too many people are too lazy to do the work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Chandra, that particular album is some grown-woman ish! I listened to this and a few other women (Badu, Angie Stone, and Janelle Monae) when I wrote The Unhappy Wife.

      As far as the other part, yes! I had to learn this myself. I had to figure out why I couldn’t just give without hearing, “thank you” or expecting something immediately in return.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a very thoughtful post and brings up a great topic. I see this in an almost reverse format. Because I’m a giving person, I’m often disappointed by other people who don’t do the things I would do. For instance, sending a thank you note or just behaving in ways that I would.
    So my motto has been to “not expect anything from other people based upon the standards of what I would do.”
    But really, I think the best thing is to not have any expectations – period. When we expect something, it often leads to disappointment.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m with you Judy. I used to be the same way, like WHY WON’T THEY JUST SAY THANK YOU??? lol but I learned by being of service that year as well as understanding the concept of just being what you want to have. I’m 98% there with not having expectations.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, I agree people have a hard time witnessing their own faults They see things in others but never look inside. As Oscar Wilde said, be yourself because everyone else is taken.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yessssssss! Can I get an amen??!!
    Yes, Kathy, yes!!! Like you stated, “People are funny…and relationships can be laughable”…It all goes back to the ” treat people the way you want to be treated” ideology. A mantra I have always lived by.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I have a wide friend who listened to my complaints about how certain family don’t ever reach out to me, no matter how often I reach out to them. I remarked how their kids learn from them, that the relationship I seek is not there and can’t be there because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well my wise friend said ‘reach out to your niece regardless, one day she may or may not have a good relationship with those whom she has one now, perhaps she will recognize and value what it meant to have an aunt reach out to her all these years’. So I do. I send her texts, letters, photos of her cousins. Not a lot. Just a little. Enough to let her know that far away in another timezone, I am thinking of her.

    Lovely post. And very timely. ❤

    Liked by 8 people

    1. That’s a great idea. My husband calls it, “leaving the door open,” or something like that. I do the same thing with my younger cousins, not in hopes for some future relationship or understanding, but just because I decided to take responsibility for how I interact with everyone because it’s on me.

      I hope your actions work out for you in the way you wish. Thanks for the kind words.


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