Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bank account balances and Scorecards

I’ve always been the type of person to take care of other people. I’m good at it.

Maybe part of it came from the mantras of selflessness driven into my Catholic school compatriots and me.

Maybe part of it came from my struggle for my parents’ approval and their continual denial of it.

Maybe part of it came from the innate sense that I didn’t deserve my relationships just because I was there; I needed to “earn them”, along with the love that came with them.

And maybe part of it is just me. Like I said – I’m good at it.

Whatever the reasons, or whatever the motivations, I always believed that you don’t “keep score” in relationships. You don’t give gifts with the idea that you will get one back. You don’t show love for the sake of having it returned. You don’t sacrifice in the hopes that the other person will do the same for you. You do those things because you choose to do them. It’s part of loving.

Makes sense, right?

Uh huh.

Then along comes Stephen Covey and blows that shit right out of the water.

OK, well not completely. But the image of his bald head bending over a cartoon bucket marked “TNT”…never mind, sorry. ADHD moment.

Where was I?

Oh right. Stephen Covey.

Anyhow, Stephen Covey promotes the idea of an “emotional bank account” in which metaphorical deposits are made in the form of loving acts, and withdrawals are taken in the form of hurtful acts. So long as the account stays relatively positive, all is well. But when that account drops into the red, relationships suffer. People get hurt.

If the accounting errors are fixed, so to speak, the account can slide back into a positive place and life moves on. But if not, if the same miscalculations continue to occur, it can be time to close the account.

Close the account.

What an odd concept for me.

So how do I juxtapose the idea of altruism within a relationship with this bank account that can, and sometimes should, be closed permanently? Therein lies my problem.

I read these articles about leaving relationships through which “you get nothing beneficial from them” and I think, “But I thought I wasn’t supposed to look at what I’m getting out of this?” Love is a gift, freely given, without thought of return. Very true. But then that pesky bank account comes up with negative numbers again.

Lately, I’ve had some people in my life that just didn’t seem to be interested in being there. It took some heavy contemplation, and I’m still not sure of myself here, but I wound up walking away. Part of me thinks I should’ve gone searching for a reason. “Why? Was it something I did or said? Or do I not fit into your life anymore? But that smacked of disingenuous considerations when I realized that honestly? I just didn’t care. The dramatic exit really isn’t my style, so there was no grand announcement or heartfelt letters sent. Just a quiet nod, a bitten lip, and a slight shrug.

I’m still not 100% sure I made the right decision, but time will tell. I think though, in the end, I’ll be better off with my accounts in the black.

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