Emotional Ledgers and Why They Keep Us from Abundance

04/04/2011 09:50 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Are you one of those people who keeps an emotional ledger? If so, I want to assure you that it's taking way too much of your time, energy and soul. Let it go.

Emotional ledger-keepers are those folks who keep the mythology of obligation alive and humming. If so-and-so picks up my kids after school, then I owe him. Why? Have you never picked up someone's kids after school? Do they owe you? If they do, you're an emotional ledger-keeper. Let it go.

Obligation shares its etymological roots with the word "ligament": both are derived from the Latin ligare, "to bind." (The same root also gives us "religion," only it means to bind again.) Feeling obligated is to feel bound, whether we want to or not -- most of the time, not.

In any case, most emotional ledger-keepers have it wired as a simple exchange system. If I do something nice for someone else, then that exact someone else must do something nice for me. Sorry, darlings, but our relatedness doesn't work like that. It's much more complicated.

It involves the law of karma, which says, put simply, that what goes around comes around -- or, if you like the scientific version, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Same thing.

The world and all its citizens are instead a big giving tree. I give to you. You give to your friend. Your friend gives to her mother. Her mother gives to her friend. And, maybe, just maybe, that friend might give to you. There's no obligation here at all. It's just the natural round of giving to one another because that's how we're made and that's what we do.

The law of karma is correct. What goes around does come around, but not always from the same place. That's a good qualifier to remember. See, if I hold a door open for a mom/baby/stroller/diaper bag/purse, then I do it because I want to do something good. If I'm not a person like that mom, I don't need someone to do that for me. But I might be asking for a raise at work that day, which is what I've determined I need.

Well, we don't know this, but let's say that the boss' husband brought her a beautiful gift the night before because it was their wedding anniversary. So the boss is in a great mood, and I get my raise. Did the husband owe us? Not directly, but passing the good along to everyone benefits everyone.

Do you begin to see how it works?

The thing is that neither you nor I have any control over this round of giving except insofar as we intend to give to others every single day. Once that is your intention, voilà, the world becomes a round of giving, and everyone is blessed.

This is how you can let go of emotional ledger-keeping (let it go) and begin participating in the round of good giving abundance available to us all.


For spiritual nourishment, visit Dr. Susan Corso's website and blog, Seeds for Sanctuary. Follow her on Twitter @PeaceCorso and friend her on Facebook.