Give with No Expectations

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Give with No Expectations

The act of giving is good for your health—as long as you do it the right way or perhaps more accurately, for the right reasons.

When we give selflessly—not expecting anything in return and only wishing to make life a little better or a little easier for someone else— it helps us shift the focus away from our own problems. It fosters a broader, more empathetic view of the world. It helps us cultivate gratitude.

But if you’re giving just to get something out of it—giving so that you’ll receive a pat on the back, a reward, a thank-you, or some benefit to yourself—then you’re not really shifting the focus away from the self; as such, you may not reap these same rewards.

It’s almost a catch-22: If you want to get something out of your giving, you have to give without expecting to get anything back. That’s sort of a tricky thing to do, and yet there are plenty of ways in which you can give without any desire to get anything back.


  • Let someone else tell a story without jumping in, one-upping it, or throwing in your commentary. Just listen. Just give them that story.
  • Give money to someone in need—and rather than dwell on what you might have done with it, act like you never had it to begin with.
  • If someone expresses a problem or a struggle to you, admit that you’ve dealt with the same thing. Give the gift of your candor and your empathy.
  • Give someone the gift of your verbalized love and encouragement, even if doing so makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Give someone the gift of your full, undivided attention.

It’s possible to give with no expectation to receive—and really, that’s the best way to do it.

What are some ways you’d recommend giving? Share on Facebook!

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.