If you think about figures in history like Gandhi and Mother Teresa, I am pretty certain that they did not seek out accolades or wonder how (or whether) their deeds would be reciprocated.
They weren't mad, I am sure, if some people did not appreciate them or show them respect. They simply chose to be a light for others without any agenda or expectation of return. They simply gave and then detached from the outcome.
So what can we learn from this (since most of us are far from Gandhi-esque)?
You see, no matter how unconditionally giving we might be, it is hard not to have at least some expectations of other people to appreciate our efforts or reciprocate in some way. The problem with this, however, is that having these expectations often causes a lot of disappointment in our lives. That's because everyone has their own standards of giving by which they live and, as such, those standards might not always match up with the standards we have set for ourselves. So how do we give without agenda but also without feeling taken for granted or foolish?
The bottom line is, if you make a conscious choice to give love, to give your energy, and to share what you have with others, you can never truly be disappointed. When we consciously give that means we know exactly what we are doing and we are making a free will choice to do it. It means that guilt, fear, and obligation are replaced with a genuine desire to share what we have. And when we make this authentic choice, then we are also able to detach from the outcome.
When we make the act of giving its own reward, no matter what anyone else does, we better manage our expectations. And when we choose to be a light for others, even if they aren't ready to pay us back, we create our own positive karma. Now, we still need to remember to have boundaries, but when we make conscious choices, boundaries, in a way, become a given. That's because when we only give out of genuine desire, versus doing so from guilt, pressure, or a false sense of obligation, then no one can truly take advantage of us. These are our decisions and, as long as we own up to them, no one can take from us what we are not willing to give.
Remember, giving without agenda does not mean enabling. Rather, it's simply about guiding and then letting go. Let your reward come from the universe rather than expecting it from someone or something specific. Let your reward come from knowing that you are being a light in someone else's life. And let your reward come from knowing that you are creating positive momentum in your own life, no matter what.