The Hamster Wheel of “Supposed to…”

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

– Princess Diana  

So much in life is full of expectation and “supposed to” – especially for those of us who are anxious perfectionists. It’s easy to feel like every favor needs to be returned or reciprocated in this nonstop, always-on hustle culture. 

I’ve found that doing a small random act of kindness for someone else is a great way to mitigate feelings of expectation and the hamster wheel of “supposed to.” Things that mean the most to me are when someone (my partner, a friend, a coworker) does a task or chore for me. Whether it’s taking out the trash or responding to an email, those are the things I appreciate.  

I firmly believe that small, mundane acts add up a lot more than the occasional grand gesture or lavish present. In turn, these are the things I try to do for others while also playing into my strengths.  

For example, my partner isn’t a morning person, so I always make coffee for us both. I prefer to be “behind-the-scenes” of presentations or client-facing meetings at work, so I will always volunteer to do the prep work to help out my colleagues.  

By simply doing things that come naturally or quickly to me, I can help make the lives of those around me a little easier daily. Everyone is tired, stressed, and overwhelmed these days. And while small favors won’t solve the world’s many crises, they can certainly make those in my inner circle feel appreciated.  

Jennifer P.