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The Learning From Buddhismー Why People are Irritated by the Relationships That Mean The Most – The Partner, Parents, Best Friends, etc



Have you ever felt irritated towards the people who are closest to you, say, your partner, parents or even best friends? Having thoughts such as “I did it for him, but he didn’t even appreciate it.”, “It took me hours to finish this for him, but all he did was point out my flaws”, or ” I spent a huge amount of money for him, but I only got a few things from him” and the list goes on.


It is said that the closer our relationship with a person is, the more prone we are to feeling annoyed, irritated and frustrated, especially when these people close to us, don’t meet our expectations. We tend to have the mindset to do good things for them, but deep in our subconscious, we are expecting some things in return – such as wanting to receive praise, etc. Hence, if the outcome doesn’t meet our expectations – the feelings of frustration may rush in potentially impacting a relationship that is most dear to us.


It is said that Shaka introduced the theory that we should learn to let go, or not be fixated on thoughts such as ” I gave something for someone, did something for someone, helped someone.” This theory is known in Japanese as “Sanrinku(三輪空)”, which is a Buddhism word.


As long as we are fixated on these concepts of “I did it for him” strongly the chances are, we are expecting something in return, whether we admit it or not. But in reality, not all things are reciprocated. We don’t always get something in return, and reality and expectations are always two different things.


Expecting to get something for our good doings is not “kindness” but more like an “investment”, like a calculated move, or something done with an ulterior motive. These ‘kind’ acts disguise themselves as been sincere gestures and may seem like it at first glance. But it is the type of kindness that is contaminated with poison, like Snow white’s apple. It’s like doing something, with high hopes of getting something in return – whether this be praise, receiving a gift etc, which is far from what it originally disguises to be as a selfless act. It’s basically like collecting a debt or an interest from an investment you made, with the debt, or interest, being much higher than what you initially invested.


Generally speaking, kindness and noble acts require something from us. It may be in the form of money – such as in charities, or time and effort – such as volunteerism. Some people might donate money or goods to help the poor, while some may offer themselves, their time and effort to do things such as clean-up activities, or helping elderly and disabled people.


Unfortunately, the selfish nature of humans often makes us demand something in return for our good deeds. Even if we are not conscious of these expectations. There is usually a voice within us reinforcing this negative attitude we have saying “I’m good and I do this for them. They have to give me something in return. I need a return!” Regardless if this return is in the form of expressed gratitude or a feeling of indebtedness, this expectation will destroy your initial good deed. This ego found in all of us can get you riled up. It will irritate and hurt you mentally, to the point of losing yourself and the people important to you.


Shaka suggested that we should help people voluntarily and clear our minds of any expectations. Whenever we have a hidden agenda for doing something, it will always manifests itself in a negative way. This can be in different ways such as impacting your mental state and your daily habits. This is a kind of a lesson. So, in order to avoid having such a bad mindset, learn to help someone or do something selflessly, without having expectations for anything in return.


We should have a feeling of gratitude. By appreciating and valuing the people around us, only then are we capable of completing a good deed. We must respect the people closest to us and offer our help purely because we care and without any hidden agenda. To help the people we love with genuine intentions will leave us feeling more fulfilled than any gift could. To be free from expectations and no longer fall in to the trap of Sanrinku will ultimately leave us feeling fulfilled and happy. We cannot change the actions of other but only that of ourselves therefore it is never good to dwell on the choices made by others.