By George Kimando
Forget Maslow’s hierarchy. The true mark of self actualization is peace with self, and doing right without expectations.
Is it even possible, you ask, right? Stay with me.
Much of the frustration we witness and experience is largely a result of unmet expectations at a personal level. Am not referring to the corporate and academic targets that determine organizational economic and business progress, but person to person relationships.
You see, the human person is essentially a being of self interest.
That means people will relate with you because of a benefit they derive from that relationship, whether current or apparent.
When the said benefit is no longer forthcoming or is no longer apparent, the relationship is likely to head south.
It could be material (largely), benefits of association (political and financial power comes to mind), sexual (need i explain this?), emotional (presence and availability), etc.
Perhaps political and financial power best explains this. Ask any former holder of a powerful docket, especially in government, what happens when they leave office. How many marriages or relationships do you know that collapsed after one partner’s (especially the man) finances dwindled?
Now, before you think of ‘those other people’, take an introspection journey.
How many of your friends do you reach out to currently with 100% goodwill? How many do you no longer relate with because your or their circumstances changed?
In the current era where we find ourselves in various WhatsApp groups for different causes that demand our support, do you contribute (or don’t) depending on an expectation from, or a past experience with, the person who makes the invite?
Do you tell your family and friends of opportunities within your network, or introduce them to people who can facilitate matters for them without holding back?
What underwrites your motivation?
When you get to a point where you do good for its own sake and depart without expectations, you have truly self actualized. Remember that adage of ‘tenda wema, nenda zako’?
And you don’t have to be in any elevated status to make that difference.
I remember a relative who works in a government agency who shocked a friend of mine with “am paid for the service i have given you” when the said friend sent her ‘something small’ for expediting for him a process that had given him quite a headache for a while.
He couldn’t believe it when she actually got furious when he insisted about it and even reversed to him the ‘something small’ on MPesa.
In the current economic challenges propped up by covid and global downturns, and when we have people slithering away from our circles without notice, how many have you reached out to if only to find out their circumstances and how they are coping?
You don’t even have to give anything material; sometimes all one needs is a voice of hope and understanding, someone to tell them it’s alright and tomorrow is another day.
Granted, we are limited in many ways, but even within those limitations, there’s still something we can do to make a difference without expectations.
I don’t want to belabour the point. Ultimately, it’s between you and the one you can never lie to: your conscience.
Have a conscientious Sunday, and a great week ahead.