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How to Make Sure Your Relationship Doesn’t Work!
Suppose I am a Banker and you want to borrow one hundred thousand dollars from my bank. I say, “I’m glad you’ve come into my bank today because I have a hundred thousand dollars at only twenty-one percent (21%) interest with your name all over it.” Congratulations. Now let’s assume you can borrow that same amount of money at any other bank at four or five percent interest. Is it good news or bad news that I am trying to loan you this money at twenty-one percent interest? Clearly, this is bad news. After recognizing you are about to leave my bank, I offer you two, three, four hundred thousand, even half a million dollars at twenty-one percent interest. Is this better news or worse news? Clearly, this is worse news at twenty one percent interest. The more you borrow from me the more obligated you are to me. The Banker appears to be doing this “for” you, but the more he gives you and you receive from him the deeper in debt and more obligated you become. People who give like this banker… their giving is bad news getting worse.
Now suppose I am a completely different Banker and you want to borrow one hundred thousand dollars. I say, “There is something you don’t know and that is that I have one hundred thousand dollars as a free gift from me to you. Get out of my bank, have a good life, be responsible with it. There are no strings attached. It is your money.” Is this good news or bad news? It is GREAT News! While this is good news, would you feel some sense of obligation toward the Banker? Although the banker has given the money freely, most people would feel some measure of obligation toward the banker.
Let’s say out of the obligation you feel, you deposit the money into his bank so that his bank can benefit from the service fees and use of the money. Now let’s assume a brand new bank has opened near your home and you have moved all of your other accounts to this new bank. It has better banking hours and lifetime free checking and savings. After three months of leaving your money in the Banker’s bank, would you:
- Immediately move the money from his bank to your new bank?
- Would you hesitate to move the money from his bank to your new bank because of the obligation you feel toward him? OR
- Would you leave the money in his bank because of the obligation you feel toward him?
Most people would either hesitate to move the money or leave the money in his bank. After several years of leaving your money in his bank, can you see that you might begin resenting that you ever took the money, because you are stuck and trapped and you aren’t free to move the money? If you move the money you will feel selfish and guilty and you might even be afraid that if you see the Banker in the community he would ask you why you moved the money and you will feel exposed, like you owe him an explanation. Let’s say that out of the obligation and resentment, you begin trying to pay the Banker back by doing nice things for him. As time goes by, you do several nice things for the Banker but he doesn’t seem to appreciate anything you’ve done for him. Over time, you realize you are not making any progress toward getting out of this hole of obligation, so you try harder to work your way out of these feelings of indebtedness. You are living your life from Minus Ten to Minus Two, always in the hole toward the banker and never even getting back to Zero with the Banker.
No matter what you do or how hard you try, you can never seem to get rid of the obligation you feel toward the Banker. After years of trying to measure up and be good enough to what you think the banker wants from you, … angry, frustrated, resentful and ultimately in despair… you end the relationship with the Banker, saying “Nothing I ever did was good enough for him.” Now, how does it work that a banker freely gives you one-hundred thousand dollars and you end up angry frustrated, exhausted, but most of all in despair ending the relationship with this banker?
The Banker Analogy applied to Relationships…
Did this second Banker give the money freely? YES, He said, “This is a gift from me to you. Get out of my bank, have a good life, be responsible with it. There are no strings attached. It is your money.” Yes, the Banker gave you the money freely. Now, Did you receive the money freely? NO While you said this is good news, you felt obligated to the Banker. The banker gave it freely, but you received it based on what you think is fair.
Fairness is nothing more than what you owe another person and what you deserve from that person. Now let's dissect this a little further. Did the Banker obligate you or did you obligated yourself? Yes, You obligated yourself. Does the Banker have anything to do with your feelings of obligation? No, nothing at all. After leaving your money in his bank for several years, can you see that some people may begin resenting that they ever took the money because they may feel stuck, trapped and afraid that if the banker sees them in the community he will ask ”Why’d you move the money?” and you’d feel exposed, as if you owe him an explanation. Is your resentment because of the Banker or because of you? Does the Banker have anything to do with your resentment? No, nothing at all. While the Banker doesn’t cause your resentment, you direct your resentment toward the Banker. Doing all kinds of nice things for the banker, you develop an attitude of entitlement trying to get out of this hole with the Banker. Are your efforts to balance the ledger or measure up to what you think the banker wants from you because of the Banker or because of you? Yes, because of you. Does your entitlement have anything to do with the Banker? No, nothing at all.
When you don’t get back from the banker what you feel like you deserve from him, you end the relationship angry, frustrated, exhausted but most of all in despair. Because nothing you ever did was good enough. So the banker gives you one-hundred thousand dollars freely, but you receive the money based on what you think is fair; feeling obligated, resenting that you ever took the money and looking at all you’ve done for the banker you feel like you deserve to be relieved from the obligation you feel by now.
You receive the money on your terms believing you have to balance the ledger of fairness rather than on the bankers terms, receiving the money freely and simply saying “Thank you.” Now let’s look at what would happen if you could get where you’re trying to go by measuring up and being good enough for the banker. Imagine you work really hard to measure up and be good enough to what you think the banker expects from you. After giving all of yourself away to the banker you finally get back to zero with the banker. Would there be more of you or less of you as a result? Yes, there would be less of you. Actually, there wouldn’t be anything of you left because you would have given all of yourself away to the banker, trying to be what you think the Banker expects of you.
People say it this way, “I have lost myself in this relationship. There is no more of me to give. I have given all of myself away in this relationship and I can’t give anything else. I’m done.” Ironically, the more you try to be good enough and to measure up to what YOU believe another person expects or wants from you, the less of you there is to give in the relationship. You lose yourself in the relationship as a result.
Receiving from others based on what you think is fair, leads to obligation, resentment and entitlement and ultimately it leaves you empty inside.
Clearly, This is not where you want to go in your relationship. I call this living below the line. Ultimately, one of the most important components in relationships is how you receive from others. So is There Another Way? What if I told you there is a way to not have to live in obligation, resentment, entitlement and emptiness, but to live in a completely different way? Well, there Is Another Way!!! This new and different way of relating holds the power to transform your life and relationships completely, if you can receive it in the same way it is given: freely! This is the subject of our next video segment.