About Expecting Nothing in Return

In a conversation revolving around ‘what is the one thing we do, which affects other most positively,’ Mert, a twenty year old med student, reminded us all of something very important: Yes, listening to people we love, sharing our thoughts, and giving advice when prompted can all be beneficial. But the most important thing is not to expect anything in return.

The ‘I told you so,’ complaint-monologues are rife with expectation that’s definitely above the person across from us, perching on a throne made for domination. Justified and angry. We told them and they didn’t listen. And now a person we care about is suffering the consequences of not listening to us (never because of the choice they made themselves). Where did we get this idea that we’re wholly responsible for the suffering of our loved ones? As if the experience, maturity, and character we possess are not the effects of mistakes and suffering.

If one side of the coin exhibits the unwavering belief that we know the right way, then the other is having grown up believing the idea that helping our loved ones is important. As long as the other side doesn’t request it, ‘help,’ is only a concept that exists in our minds. When we offer it without anyone’s request, it simultaneously carries an expectation. If we offer help it must be taken, used, and appreciated. Why?

After so many generations of people who gave more importance to what others thought (especially about them), I think the footsteps of a new generation that cherishes and listen to themselves, is slowly being heard. They don’t love anyone so much as to allow them to make demands above their own. Let the older generation call this selfishness, heartlessness, or ignorance of value. Is the actual fear of those elders, children who are not dependent, begging for love, and willing to give up their true selves for a pat on the head? Perhaps this is life’s most important lesson in regards to modern day parents’ lack of expectation.



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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