I love the scene in Shrek 2 when Shrek has turned into a handsome man in an effort to fit into Fiona’s world. Because he is no longer a big ogre, his clothes hang loosely on him. He, therefore, robs a passing carriage and takes the man’s clothes. As he rides off, he hollers back the famous line of vague gratitude and an empty promise.
While, very amusing in the movie, it might not be so amusing when we become the one carelessly taken advantage of by a friend, family member or acquaintance. Have you ever loaned something to someone and they never returned it or mentioned it again? Maybe they’re thinking, “Well, she has plenty, she doesn’t need it back.” Or “He doesn’t use that, so I don’t need to return it.” These are assumptions we shouldn’t make. If we borrow something or ask a favor, we need an understanding of what is expected: will this be returned, replaced or is it a gift. Pausing to be sure everyone is on the same page could probably have saved many families a feud over the years.
And, what about when we are the one’s that have taken advantage of someone else? I think we tend to do this more to family because we think, “Hey, they’re family, they should share/give/do for us without expecting repayment.” And maybe that’s true in some families, but no one wants to be taken for granted. And, it goes both ways. Are we willing to give, share or do, for our family and friends without expectations of repayment? Do we do things to help and support one another simply out of love and kindness, or does there have to be something in it for us?
It’s always easier to remember when we have been intentionally used, or simply taken for granted, but are we aware of our own lack of reciprocity?
Sometimes it doesn’t take more than a heartfelt “thank you.” Other times it requires returning the favor, and certainly returning something that we may have borrowed.
If ever I’m in need, I hope I am seen as someone that can be counted on to appreciate a favor, to return things borrowed and reciprocate in kind. If I have neglected to be that way, I’m sorry. I couldn’t find you, or I forgot…