A friend of mine gently pointed out to me that I have Great Expectations. Not the book -- that's a Dickens I never read. But about situations. People. Things. Behaviors. And I might just be a little oversensitive when it comes to these Great Expectations.
Well, it wasn't actually gentle or subtle. But it was something I needed to hear.
I expect a lot out of myself. And, I must humbly admit that I project that on others. Not fair. Not right. Not good. It isn't intentional, I assure you. I ask no more of others than I do myself. But then, if you know me at all, you know I ask a lot out of myself. I push myself hard. I don't know how to be any other way. I'm a bit sensitive and highly intuitive. I sense things in others. I have never ever been easy-going, low key or casual about anything. Not gonna change. That's just me.
HOWEVER, I cherish the people who surround me for who they truly are. Not who I want them to be. I didn't befriend them for my personal aspirations of the great friend they'd be if they did this, that or the other thing. If they changed their thinking or behavior or response time or attentiveness to me.
I wasn't looking to improve or change them. No way. I chose them for their individuality ... their uniqueness ... and various other qualities or talents or elements about them that I enjoy and admire. I want them in my life only as the person they choose to be. I want no façade or performance or insincerity.
And, I want the people in my life to know that I am working on my Great Expectations. And what I truly ask is only they be true to their deepest selves. I may fail them ... and they may not provide me with what I want in some certain moment. But, thanks to my friend and this subtle nudge, I will do all I can to live and let live. And I love and accept them for who they are today.
I pretty much bet I'm not alone in this expectation thing. We all want something from others. Attention. A phone call. A night out. An embrace. A service or help with something that is important to us. Patience. Freedom. Forgiveness. Space. Understanding. Yes, we are drawn to people based on mutual interests and we hope to share those in various ways. That's an Expectation. We want something from them ... and if they don't provide, we find ourselves lost and disappointed. They have failed us ... and all they have done is not meet our expectations.
Each of us was raised differently. The Expectations we form are based on that upbringing. Based on the person we are ourselves. But we can change how we choose to manage those feelings ... those hopes ... those expectations. We can realize that our very existence is not the center of theirs. And likewise. We can hold on loosely ... and enjoy the surprises.
So the next time that phone call isn't returned as promptly as you like ... the next time the answer is I can't make it ... the next time the response or action is not your personal preference, stop the cycle. Shake it off. Laugh at your own quick tendency to become irritated. Accept the other person for who they are and release your projected concept of who they are supposed to be.
Now, isn't that a lot simpler?