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Welcome to my island of sanity and serenity. I'm Sandra Pawula - writer, mindfulness teacher and advocate of ease. I help deep thinking, heart-centered people find greater ease — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Curious? Read On!

How to Give Without Expectations and Overcome the Need for Acknowledgement & Praise

Do expectations get in your way when giving? Although I aspire to give without expectations, I know I’m not able to do so fully at the present time.

There’s so much I give freely without a second thought.  For example, each year, I carefully write 40,000 - 60,000 words on Always Well Within as a gift from my heart, nearly an entire traditional-length manuscript.

But other times, after giving, I go into an emotional nosedive when I don’t get the response I unknowingly craved.

Does that happen to you sometimes too?

A recent epiphany, after a bout of giving, uncovered how deeply I wanted to be seen, heard, and acknowledged in return for all that I shared.  Of course, that’s not my sole motivation. But I acknowledge there’s an unresolved wound that sometimes drives me, without my knowledge, until I feel a sting.

Here’s the remarkable piece.  The  willingness to be present to this insight and the pain it engendered, freed a piece of my soul from my aching for love.  Such a great gift my giving brought back to me, but only because I opened to the pain.

As a result, my funk dissolved. I picked myself up and carried on happily. In the next days, I let go of the need for attention, acknowledgement, or praise.  A friend even remarked that I seemed more confident than ever before. And, although it wavered momentarily, my commitment to giving without expectation feels stronger now than before.

Giving Without Expectations Helps You Too

As you can see, I know how challenging it can be to give without expectations, but I still think it’s important to try.  Here are my four reasons why:

  1. If you are giving to be liked or loved, you’re dependent on others who are erratic at best.  Thus you’ll never feel whole, complete, or satisfied.  Like drinking salt water, the more you drink, the thirstier you become.
  2. Difficulties, which is what often comes up when you don’t get what you expected, serve as our spiritual teachers.  If you’re able to stay open and look within at your own emotional mechanics, the blessings will heal your wounded places one by one.
  3. If you only received praise, you might get fatheaded.  But eventually, because the nature of everything is to change, your bubble will burst and you’ll be on the floor again.
  4. Most importantly, letting go of expectations reduces ego attachment, the constant whirl of “I, me, and mine” that creates all the suffering in this world to begin with.

That doesn't mean you should strategically give just to benefit yourself.  You give simply because it is the right thing to do and in the recognition that we're not separate from one another at all.

You have to go beyond the need for praise, if you want to find satisfaction and peace, don’t you?  If your intention is to be an expression of goodness and light, the path is not necessarily easy - that’s just the plain truth.  Selfless service does not necessarily bring prestige, recognition, immediate gratification, or even a “thank you” in return.  Sometimes, it just brings criticism.

So always examine your motivation for giving.  Naturally, being human, at times your motivation may be clouded by the hunger for attention, acknowledgement, or praise, as mine was.  When you notice this, open the door for healing to take place.  Realize that all the love that you need exists within you.  Pour your own love into you.

Then, when you feel ready, give to others as freely as you can.

Do expectations trip you up when you lend a helping hand?  Would you feel better if you could let go of the expectations and give freely from your heart?

Thank you for your presence.  May you  be happy, well, and safe - always.  With love, Sandra

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