Some Expectations are Good, They are Spoken
When the winter ends and we expect the spring… (and it finally comes) … it’s good. When we work hard and reap the reward of that work… it’s good. When we put our trust in someone and that trust is respected, it’s good. When we are able to tell someone what we expect and we know they have heard us, and that expectation is met, it’s good. But most of us know that expectations… especially ones that we don’t even realize are there… can lead to disappointment at best.
Some are Bad…They are “Un” Spoken
These are the ones where our lack of self-awareness or observation about the reality of the situation, makes us vulnerable to someone else’s whims, lack of integrity or just inattention. The ones where we forget to ‘trust but verify’. Where denial about the other person’s behavior puts us in jeopardy. Especially if it’s our family that lets us down. Social norms expect/require us to ‘love’ them, but some family members don’t deserve the love and trust that ‘society thinks’ they should have.
What We Can Do
Many people have ‘reasons’ why they can’t pay attention to the needs of others. They say it’s because, they:
- have a short attention span
- are not ‘tuned-in’ to others
- see how easily other people do it and think they just can’t
- think it takes too much energy
- believe they have too many people to pay attention to
and a gazillion more. The truth is that love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. And one of the most important actions we can take, is to pay attention to our own expectations of others and work to clarify our expectations whenever possible.
Together, Let’s Work on These
- Be aware of your expectations. This takes work, but it’s worth it
- Check for the reasonableness of the expectation. Do we think that someone will always behave the way we want? That’s not reasonable. Is this something that I want? Have I listened to what the other person says about why they can’t meet our expectation? Have they let us down before?
- Work to verbalize your expectations. This is tough because if we say it out loud, then that gives the other person the chance to say… no. And if we don’t say it out loud, maybe they’ll do it and we’ll get what we want. But let me assure you that whatever the let down of the conversation regarding the expectation… it is better than not verbalizing what you want or expect.
Let’s see what we can do to help ourselves to love those who deserve it.