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The people we give to and the people we receive from are often different.



“I have helped my sister so many times in my life but she is never there for me when I want it” “This has happened often?” I asked “Yes, it has always been that way from early times. I am always there to help her out of difficulties but she has never helped me when I needed” “Who has helped you when you needed help?” I probed “There has been one cousin of mine who has given me full support and two of my friends who always stood by me.” “Have you also helped your cousin in times of her difficulty?” There was a huge pause. “When I think of it, she has never asked me for help.” “Do you think your cousin has never needed help?” “How can that be possible? She must have had her difficulties. She just never asked me for any help although she has always been there by my side when I needed it.” “Do you think the world is organized in such a way that the people whom we help are different from people who help us?” I put it to her. Reciprocity is wired into us in many ways. We help others hoping that we will be helped by them when we need it. In small communities of earlier times this ensured cooperation between members of a tribe we were a part of. Today the world has changed and we live in one massive community. We very easily understand that if we helped a stranger (carried their load, held a door open, rushed them to a medical facility etc), the same stranger is not going to help us when we need it. But when it comes to our close circle, we still expect the same person to help us when we need it. We fail to see that, when we need help we receive it from people whom we have not really helped. The person we give to is not necessarily the same person who will give it to us. But essentially we do receive help from other quarters. Once we understand this bigger picture that the channels we give to and the channels we receive from are separate it is easy to overcome the resentment we hold against people to whom we have given and they have not reciprocated


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