What is inside of us–in our hearts–is what drives us. It’s the fuel that powers our thoughts, words, and deeds. Sometimes we can hide our motives, agendas, and inner thoughts. Eventually they show themselves and expose us for the kind of people we really are–what drives us. Are we motivated by pride, greed, pleasure, or pain? Are our actions ultimately self-serving? Do we give so we can get in return? For some of us, even our generosity is from an inner desire to be praised and to have others beholding to us. Have you ever felt uncomfortable with an act of kindness shown to you? Do you feel hesitant to accept a favor or gift? Maybe part of you senses that there are stings attached and therefore it’s not really in your best interest to accept. Is this you as well? Do you give and wait for the reward giving will give you? Do you remind people of what you’ve done for them–in the context of asking something from them in return? Have you found yourself saying “but I did (fill in the blank) for you!” Sometimes gifts are not gifts and help is not help. If it’s self-serving, if something is owed to you in return, then you may want to examine your own motives. What lies within always creeps out and sooner or later the contents of our heart will shine forth. Our words and actions will always betray us. Try giving without expecting something in return. Try accepting without feeling like you have to abide by an agreement you did not make. If a gift is presented as a gift then accept it as a gift. Down the road if the gift is brought back up again then know it wasn’t really a gift but don’t play into the manipulation. Simply say, “I don’t remember making an agreement”. Leave it at that. Manipulation only works when you allow it to work.