Expectations are a biggie, it has taken me some time to formulate how to word all this, but recent events have made me realize this needs to be done. Funny how those things happen, people around you are having a large problem with expectations, and the article just forms in your head as you talk to them. Things are just meant sometimes.
Expectations, to my way of thinking, account for the largest percentage of why we get hurt. Better wording would be: why we allow our feelings to be hurt. More on feelings here soon, I hope.
Expectations occur when someone has not done what you thought or felt they should have, based on your beliefs, not theirs, and as a result, you become hurt, disappointed or angry. Expectations are when we think someone else should adapt our beliefs, no questions asked, no negotiations.
Someone else cannot possibly ever fulfill your expectations perfectly or exactly, because they are yours, and exist, exactly, only within you.
Read those again, really absorb those two lines.
I have a relationship, a working, functioning relationship with my other half. We got together because most of life's aspects, most of our preferences, most of our processes of thinking, and our morals, lifestyle, interests and hobbies match naturally. Our religious beliefs differ tremendously, he is black and white while I surround myself with every shade and hue imaginable, but we get along quite nicely in the daily scheme as well as the long run. If I have to go out, I am going to do all my errands at one time, in one day, logically starting a one side of town and weaving my way back home again with each stop. My hunnie will cheerfully pop into the car and procure a small item from the far end of town without thinking twice about it. I don't understand his willingness to take the time, spend the gas or energy on traffic, but I see our differences there as a compliment to each other, not a friction. I have always maintained marrying some male clone version of myself would be boring, boring, boring. Diversity is one of the spices of life. Obviously, a relationship with someone totally different than myself in most categories would be an aggravation I see as fruitless.
Every relationship has a certain amount of agreements, spoken or unspoken. For instance, our arrangement is that he brings home to bacon, I take care of the house. We didn't specify how many hours we would spend on our jobs, but my thinking is that since he works ten hours a day, I should be busy around the house for the same amount of time each day. This obviously agreed with him so it was never was an issue until I stopped, due to illness, but still, it was a suitable arrangement that fit for both of us, discussion was never required until it became a problem.
Someone failing to do what was previously agreed on, in my mind, does not fall under the category of expectations, but this seems to come up a bit in conversations with others who ask, "What is the difference, he is not doing what I think he should be doing! Don't I have the right to expect some common courtesy from my spouse?" Indeed, you do, if common courtesy is an important (or mandatory) factor to you in a relationship. I would guess that either you are in a relationship with someone who does not have the same value, or did have at one time and has now ceased to have that value. Time for a simple but clear agreement. You need courtesy, will he respect that need? If not, your choices are simple. Learn to live without it or around it, or, move out of the relationship. I know life and relationships are rarely that simple, but that is the bottom line, all games void and dissolved. Getting someone to see that your truth is that he is not courteous is another matter, another challenge. More on truths here. Another bottom line for you: your truth is that he is not courteous. Can he understand and accept your truth? Again, if not, your choices are simple. Learn to live without it or around it, or, move out of the relationship.
On to expectations, the real ones. I do not expect my love to make my coffee for me, but he does. It is a wonderful, delightful gift he has chosen to present me with every morning. I wake to a fresh pot of coffee, made my him for me. Alas, his actions resulted in my being so spoiled that the day he forgot to make coffee, I was actually hurt. Sniff. Sob. You didn't remember, you don't love me enough to make an effort to make my coffee last night. Waaaaaaa....!! Good thing that lasted long enough for me to wake up in order to make the coffee. He got busy, he didn't remember, he forgot. Big deal. I guarantee you, he felt terrible when he realized I had to make my own coffee that morning, and he rarely ever forgets. The point was my instant reaction. I was hurt, and disappointed. He did not do what I thought he should do. Key words there, I thought, he should. I expected.
I can desire for my partner to touch me, hold me or stare longingly at me, but if I really want him to fulfill these dreams, and he is willing to try, I have to be able to tell him exactly and precisely what it would feel like, look like, act like. He has to be able to crawl inside my mind and see for himself what I dream of. Obviously, he can't. He can try to be that knight for me as best he can, but I have to be able to accept what he does deliver, and try not to hold it up to what I dream. To do anything else would be to expect him to fulfill my expectations. Make sense? They are my dreams, my expectations, not his, not anyone else's. How could anyone possibly fulfill my expectations when my imagination and brain (or heart) is where they were developed and designed?
Friends, real friends, are rare and precious. They are people who share the same values, realities, and (groan) expectations you have. Perhaps elements or factors would be a better word. My criteria for a life long close friendship includes but is not limited to, general lifestyles, understanding, support, a soul deep affection, lack of judgment, silliness and humour, and intelligence. We don't have to live in the same city, and we don't have to be the same age. In over fifty years, I can count my life long best friends on the fingers of one hand. Ok, two hands now. Acquaintances abound, but best friends are few and precious. Several of them are people I do not talk to or see for years at a time, because neither of us expect the other to be in constant contact, we both understand how life can take us away in many directions. If I am having a down day and need someone to talk to, Kerry is always there, come hell or high water. I try not to expect her to be there, and appreciate that she is. If she can't be there one day, how could I be angry? Her life is not designed for my back and call.
Sam has been so hurt and disappointed in her family lately, so deeply that she came to visit her second mom in order to help sort it out. She is a blessing, a really sweet girl who has finally found her niche in life as a paralegal. She is making good money, does not rely on her family to support her financially like other family members, and if you need help in any way, Sam is on the way without question. All she would like from her family, is for someone to call her just to see how she is, to say hello, tell her they are proud of what she has done, or invite her over. She is always the one to initiate those calls, and just for once, would like someone else to care enough to take the time and make that effort. She had expressed this need, but nothing ever changed. Not that big of a thing, right? She was ready to completely disown her family to prevent her continual hurt and disappointment. What a shame that would have been. Eventually, she understood that the way her family, and father, expresses love for her was not they way she preferred, or expected. (Good article on the five ways we express love here.) She grasped that what she wanted was simply not going to happen, and that she would have to adapt her idea of a family to what her family was in actuality. Change can always happen down the road, but for the time being, Sam had to accept was is, not what she wanted, desired or expected.
This magnet is on my frig.
Buy one here : )
Written by Sharry Anne Stevens 1996, all right reserved
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