We hem. We haw. We wonder. We sit in silence with glaring eyes and dissatisfied temperaments. All because people aren’t doing what we expect them to do.
Expectation is the number one killer of relationships. Assumption is a close second. And communication brings up the rear.
Our biggest fault, hugest mistake, most glaringly obvious blunder is placing expectation on others. Translation: making other people responsible for our feelings.
When we expect something from someone – be it attention, words, punctuality, food, money – we essentially surrender our emotional independence to the will of another human being.
Stop the blaming
Life doesn’t happen to us – it just happens. And we react to it.
No one is to blame for the way we feel. No one has the power to destroy us or build us up. No one has any control over anything that goes on in our minds.
We often expect others to satisfy our personal and emotional needs, especially in our close relationships. And when others don’t perform as we’d like them to, we feel very disappointed. Possibly sad and angry. And we claim it’s all their fault.
It’s silly, really. To blame other people for the way we feel. It’s self-centered, too. (Probably a gremlin nearby…)
Be emotionally responsible
Since life doesn’t happen to us – it just happens and we react to it – and since no one can else control our thoughts and feelings, guess who’s in charge of our own personal happiness?
Yep. We are.
When we place our happiness in other people’s hands, we’re going to be disappointed. Guaranteed.
Why hand over our lives? Why make someone else responsible for our happiness and inner peace?
Since we are the only ones who can truly determine our own thoughts and feelings, we are the only ones responsible for our emotional security.
No. One. Else.
Be a duck
My mother – beautiful, loving, generous, and fun – says the weirdest things sometimes. She has a very particular sub-genre of life wisdom. And she’s always right.
One day I was having a tough time letting go of other people’s words and actions. Instead, I was letting others influence my feelings on a deep level. So, I had a chat with my mom about it and she told me to “be a duck.”
I didn’t get it, but it certainly made me giggle.
Mom said, “Be a duck. Let it slide off your back.”
Ohhhhh…water slides off a duck’s back…okay, got it.
What Mom was intending to parabolize was that I should let the words and actions of others slide off my back, go in one ear and out the other – an “I’m rubber you’re glue” sort of thing.
To which my smart mouth replied, “Quack quack, mother clucker.”
Let it slide
Let go of your expectations of others.
Even the people closest to you can’t fill you up. They can’t fulfill all your needs. So give them some quack – I mean, slack. Give them some slack.
People aren’t horrible creatures. They’re just humans, like us.
We’re all running around this world trying to find a sense of security. And we usually turn to other people as a primary resource. We usually turn to everything external.
But the one place we tend not to look is within ourselves.
We are the only ones that can fulfill our personal expectations. We are the only ones responsible for our thoughts and feelings.
And we’re probably a little too hard on ourselves, too.
Maybe we can loosen our grip on the desire to have our expectations met at all and really experience the peace and freedom of letting go.