“We’re not doing anything out of guilt anymore” she said.

I’ve only recently started living on my own. Not in the physical sense – it’s been over 10 years now since leaving high school for college life.

Granted, it’s probably been about 2 years since I started living based on my own motivations, pursuing things that I wanted to accomplish, decisions that I wanted to make. That road was long…. with many a winding turn, introspection, blogging, and the like. For a long time I was a sort of “Yes Man” but not in the adventurous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sense….

I just couldn’t say no when someone asked me (or otherwise expected me) to do something.

Really, it was more of a “Yes-By-All-Means-Walk-All-Over-Me-Man.” That sort of implies that the people who were asking me to do things for them had nefarious motives and I don’t believe that to be true. But in my heart, I would rather be put out than to see somebody else put out.

To be disappointed rather than to disappoint.

Now, I can’t say where this came from. My guess is that it developed because of the fact that as a younger dude who could do some things well, I developed many functional relationships – relationships that were based on me being able to do something for someone else. We do this all the time – many strong friendships are built on a premise that one can do something well for the other and through the jigs and the reels a beautiful thing emerges on the other end.

Couple that with my Oprah Winfrey quality tender heart and you’ve got a “Yes-By-All-Means-Walk-All-Over-Me-Man.”

What I am not saying is that doing things for others is bad or that you should put yourself before others.

What I AM saying is that unless you motivation is true (i.e. non-guilt related), what does it really mean? Kristy just had a birthday and we had a discussion about getting a gift out of obligation (i.e. I’ll feel guilty if I don’t get you something) versus out of true love (i.e. I saw this, thought of you, and wanted to show my love).

Of course I believe that there are obligations, and responsibilities and things that we have to do. But, my point is that even these responsibilities expand your heart when they’re remembered and completed by a giving spirit. In reality, acting out of guilt is really just a cleverly masked form of selfishness – I’ll give you a gift to make guilt go away – to make myself feel better – to not have to deal with the aftermath of not getting you a gift.

That scenario: it’s no good, sir.

To move towards selflessness is to move away from living and choosing and responding out of guilt and moving towards something much, much more freeing.