From Transaction To Trust

Mark Manson

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Awakin FeatureThe most precious and important things in life are, by definition, nontransactional. And to try to bargain for them is to immediately destroy them. You cannot conspire for happiness; it is impossible. But this is often what people try to do, especially when we seek out self-help and other personal development advice -- they are essentially saying, "Show me the rules of the game I have to play and I'll play it," not realizing that it's the very fact that they think there are rules to happiness that is preventing them from being happy.

While people who navigate life through bargaining and rules can get far in the material world, they remain crippled and alone in their emotional world. This is because transactional values create relationships that are built upon manipulation.

Adults need to be shown that bargaining is a never-ending treadmill, that the only things in life of real value and meaning are achieved without conditions, without transactions. It requires good parents and teachers not to succumb to the adolescent's bargaining. The best way to do this is by example, of course, by showing unconditionality yourself. The best way to teach an adolescent to trust is to trust him. The best way to teach an adolescent respect is to respect him. The best way to teach someone to love is by loving him. And you don't force the love or trust or respect on him -- after all, that would make those things conditional -- you simply give them, understanding that at some point, the adolescent's bargaining will fail and he'll understand the value of unconditionality when he's ready.

It's difficult to act unconditionally. You love someone knowing you may not be loved in return, but you do it anyway. You trust someone even though you realize you might get hurt or screwed over. That's because to act unconditionally requires some degree of faith -- faith that it's the right thing to do even if its results aren't what you expect.

Mark Manson is a best-selling author.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that acting unconditionally requires some degree of faith? Can you share a personal story of a time unconditionality opened up new avenues of understanding in your life? What helps you shift from transaction to trust?

Add Your Reflection:

9 Previous Reflections:

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    On Jun 3, 2020 Pia wrote:
    I agree that acting unconditionally requires faith but I feel at certain times unconditionality works and at others its ok to have some degree of expectations from a relationship. For example in a marriage, you expect your partner to treat you with respect. They won't necessarily behave how you want them to all the time and we should allow them the freedom to live their own paths but in doing so I would expect respect. If they are harmful to us in any way, then I wouldn't agree with still giving respect from our side. This may not be the right way but I feel each situation is different and has to be considered separately. There are times when we have to behave with trust and continue to love//respect/give without expectations, but not always.

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    On Jun 3, 2020 Shyam Gupta wrote:
    We all want happiness , but are looking for it at the wrong places and through the wrong means. We want to purchase happiness, thinking its transactional. We start bringing transactionality even in our close relations , many times manipulating relationships to seek happiness.
    True happiness is non transactional and it is an outcome of unconditional loving and unconditional trust in the process of nature. We love unconditionally and we trust unconditionally. Yes we may get frustrated at times when we are not loved back or when our trust gets broken . We need to have faith in the law and process of nature and make our best effort in loving and trusting unconditionally for their is no other way to find happiness and joy.

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    On Jun 2, 2020 Pankaj Mehra wrote:
    "Unconditional"- Just a 'word' - easy to read & write but understand. In this fast paced & materialistic world, where all human emotional might seem transactional, there is definitely some small part of ours within, which still is unconditional. It's just, that part doesn't show its face to the world, mostly because it has fear of losing in transactions. Fear of getting emotionally, socially, financially getting hurt & lost. The moment we are ready to let go the win, the ego, we would definitely see that side of unconditional coming up more often. It's tough, I know, but still worth giving a try..

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    On Jun 2, 2020 sammy wrote:
    Um, no. Everything in human relating is, ultimately, transactional. And that's a good thing; it's not manipulative at all. Everything action we take on earth creates an energetic exchange. All of it, thoughts, words, deeds. Nothing can be extracted from the exchange of energy. Succumb to an adolescent's bargaining? Why not engage the adolescent wisely? Hear them out? Teach them how to skillfully engage? It's not succumbing to listen carefully and give their words value. We rely on grace and aspiration, love and kindness. Those are transactions that take place on a plane beyond human. Transactions go far beyond what can be weighed, measured, or bargained.We give and experience the joy of giving. That's a transaction. We try to do the right thing. That's a transaction, even if the people involved haven't negotiated it. These types of transactionsunfold in multiple dimensions. And trust cannot, and should not, continue if you continually get hurt or screwed o... [View Full Comment] Um, no. Everything in human relating is, ultimately, transactional. And that's a good thing; it's not manipulative at all. Everything action we take on earth creates an energetic exchange. All of it, thoughts, words, deeds. Nothing can be extracted from the exchange of energy.

    Succumb to an adolescent's bargaining? Why not engage the adolescent wisely? Hear them out? Teach them how to skillfully engage? It's not succumbing to listen carefully and give their words value.

    We rely on grace and aspiration, love and kindness. Those are transactions that take place on a plane beyond human. Transactions go far beyond what can be weighed, measured, or bargained.We give and experience the joy of giving. That's a transaction. We try to do the right thing. That's a transaction, even if the people involved haven't negotiated it. These types of transactionsunfold in multiple dimensions. And trust cannot, and should not, continue if you continually get hurt or screwed over. That's not about "having faith." That's refusing to learn.

    Is there a time to make leaps of faith? Absolutely. But over time, and life experience, it will be the nature, quality, and experience of the transaction that ensures the sustainability of trust.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Jun 2, 2020 Cheryl gowin wrote:
    There is also a place for heathy boundaries

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    On Jun 2, 2020 yvonne wrote:
    It is not until our trust...the trust that has been corroded....by wounds unexpressed....can find that solvent....that erases all the rust...and our trust can then be shared with others because we know it is on solid ground.....until then...we will keep being stuck as in a revolving door...continuing to repeat and push our wounds out to whoever we connect with....when you begin to understand how loved you are....all else melts away,....you cannot give this to another.....but you can pray in trust that it will become ,..one single entirety.....

    1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
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    On May 31, 2020 David Doane wrote:
    For me, acting unconditionally means acting that is the honest, open, and caring response to what is happening without trying to control, create, or prevent outcome. It's not manipulative or goal-directed. It's free of bargaining, rules, and agenda. As I see it, it is the highest form of acting. I am in control of whether I act unconditionally; I can't control outcome. Acting unconditionally requires faith that it is best for me and others and it is the best contribution I can make to a favorable outcome I learned that many years ago. My mantra and focus became process, not outcome; that is, unconditional acting and hope for the best. I definitely don't always act that way, but what helps me shift from transaction to trust is that it is its own reward when I am true to myself, it gives me satisfaction and peace, and often the outcome is good.

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    On May 30, 2020 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    Mark Mason's article from Transaction ToTrust made me think deeply. Conditional relationships are transactional relationships. They are bargainingrelationships. They are deal making relationships. Such relationships are normal in the material or worldly world. We may have the same kind of conditional mindset in our personal and interpersonal relationships. Such mindset is based on the following equation: If only when you do this thing for me or if only when I get this then I will be with you. We all know that such a mindset may bring achievement or gratification for a while. Loving relationships are not founded on if when and then equation. They are unconditional. The foundation of such relationships is unshakable trust or faith.Without faith there is no true and enduring love. I was blessed to have people in my life who mostly related to me unconditionally. The early childhood experiences of unconditional love have built a solid foundation for my personality development. It is my ... [View Full Comment] Mark Mason's article from Transaction ToTrust made me think deeply. Conditional relationships are transactional relationships. They are bargainingrelationships. They are deal making relationships. Such relationships are normal in the material or worldly world. We may have the same kind of conditional mindset in our personal and interpersonal relationships. Such mindset is based on the following equation: If only when you do this thing for me or if only when I get this then I will be with you. We all know that such a mindset may bring achievement or gratification for a while. Loving relationships are not founded on if when and then equation. They are unconditional. The foundation of such relationships is unshakable trust or faith.Without faith there is no true and enduring love.
    I was blessed to have people in my life who mostly related to me unconditionally. The early childhood experiences of unconditional love have built a solid foundation for my personality development. It is my belief based on my experiences that the vibrations of un-conditionality bring non-transactional people together- the law of attraction!
    As Mark Mason says, "It is difficult to act unconditionally." Yes. It is not that easy. It requires a shift from transactional mind to trusting heart. According to
    the wisdom tradition it requires sadhana-daily mindfulness practice. Trusting others begins with trusting oneself, cultivating faith in oneself- making a gradual
    shift with awareness.
    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave'
    [Hide Full Comment]

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