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No one owes you anything

In 1966, investment analyst Harry Brown for Christmas wrote a letter to his nine-year-old daughter, which is still quoted.

Hi, honey.

It's Christmas now, and I have the usual problem - what gift to choose. I know what makes you happy - books, games, dresses. But I am very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you longer than a few days or even years. I want to give you something that will remind you of me every Christmas. And, you know, I think I chose a gift. I will give you one simple truth that I had to learn for many years. If you understand it now, you will enrich your life in hundreds of different ways and this will protect you from a lot of problems in the future.

So: no one owes you anything.

This means that no one lives for you, my child. Because nobody is you. Every person lives for himself. The only thing he can feel is his own happiness. If you realize that no one should organize your happiness, you will be freed from the expectations of the impossible.

This means that no one is obliged to love you.If someone loves you - it means there is something so special about you that makes him happy. Find out what it is, try to make it stronger, and then you will love even more.

When people do something for you, it happens only because they themselves want to do it. Because you have something important for them - something that makes them want to like you. But not at all because they owe you. If your friends want to be with you, this is not a sense of duty.

No one should respect you. And some people will not be kind to you. But at that moment, when you learn that no one is obliged to do good to you, and that someone can be unkind to you, you will learn to avoid such people. Because you don't owe them either.

Once again: no one owes you anything.

You have to become the best first of all for yourself. Because if you succeed, other people will want to be with you, they will want to give you different things in exchange for what you can give them. And someone does not want to be with you, and the reasons will not be in you at all. If this happens, just look for another relationship. Let someone else's problem does not become yours.

At that moment, when you realize that the love and respect of others must be earned,you will no longer wait for the impossible and you will not be disappointed. Others are not required to share property, feelings, or thoughts with you. And if they do it, it is only because you earned it. And then you can be proud of the love you deserve and the sincere respect of your friends. But you can never take it all for granted. If you do this, you will lose all these people. They are not "yours by right". To achieve them and “earn” them every day.

I fell like a mountain from my shoulders when I realized that nobody owed me anything. While I thought I was owed, I spent a terrible amount of effort, physical and emotional, to get mine. But in fact, no one owes me good behavior, respect, friendship, politeness or intelligence. And the moment I realized that, I began to receive much more satisfaction from all my relationships. I focused on people who want to do the things I need from them. And it served me well - with friends, business partners, lovers, vendors and strangers. I remember all the time that I can get what I need only if I enter the world of my interlocutor. I have to understand how he thinks, what he considers important, what he ultimately wants.Only in this way can I get something from him that I need. And only having understood the person, I can tell if I really need something from him.

It’s not so easy to summarize in one letter what I have been able to understand over many years. But maybe if you will reread this letter every Christmas, its meaning will be a little clearer for you every year.


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