We walk around thinking everyone else is going to be on our side. We believe they will understand us when we explain. We assume others care. These are misplaced expectations that turn into tremendous frustration that squashes our growth. Just do you.
Since we have so little (or no) control over what others do, that is why I keep coming back to things that we can do to make our lives more peaceful. That doesn’t remove the fact that others have hurt us unfairly. It doesn’t mean that we should not expect anything out of anyone.
Instead I am saying that we can only control our own thoughts and actions. With that fact accepted, we can adjust our thinking and our actions to make a path to a more peaceful life, hopefully without people who continue to hurt us.
Tips, tools and tricks to adjust to circumstances that we cannot change helps us to find peace within ourselves so we can deal with the actions of others in an appropriate manner.
So, let’s look at how we have misplaced expectations that exasperate our frustration load that keeps us from growing into who we were created to be.
When we are shamed, when we are living with trauma, when we are chronically ill, the frustrations are abundant.
Removing expectations frees us up to be ourselves. But it is a hard endeavor. Try to do it and see for yourself where expectations can get in YOUR way.
- Send a text/message/email saying anything to anyone. Do you expect acceptance or approval in response?
- Say anything to anyone about how hurt you are. Are you expecting them to sympathize or have at least a little compassion or understanding?
- Are you telling your story to others who haven’t earned the honor of hearing your story? Do you actually expect people NOT to shame you?
- When trauma hits you hard, do you expect that anyone else can truly understand the complexities of your individual situation?
- When you are so ill that you cannot take care of yourself, do you expect that someone will show up to help? Why?
- When you are broken, shattered into what feels like a million pieces from shame, trauma, chronic illness, and you ask for help, do you expect that someone will actually step up and help? Do you expect that anyone will even offer a listening ear?
Our expectations are very reasonable. People “should” respond in basic ways. The problem is that they usually don’t in the ways we expect.
That doesn’t make them bad or evil people, it just simply means that they are as human as we are and they cannot meet our expectations just the same as we don’t always meet theirs.
When people do show up to meet your needs and your expectations, please show gratitude. There are many kind and loving people in this world. when you encounter one, please acknowledge such.
When we expect anything out of anyone and they don’t meet those expectations, we get frustrated.
I know, but this and but that. But it is rude to ignore someone who is hurting. But I don’t deserve this. But I have never treated others the way they are treating me.
I get it, it is not fair and it is rude, etc. That does not change the fact that we have no control over what others do and say, or don’t say.
What we have control over is our frustrations with the situation.
I know I have gone down this path too many times and ended up being the one wasting my time and energy over being frustrated from misplaced expectations. The things that make the most common sense to me do not seem to even cross others minds, much less their actions. Cannot change that fact so I need to identify MY misplaced expectations in others.
Simply looking at others track records can give us a clue who we can expect what from.
- If a person has a history of not being there for us, then why, when we become ill or abused do we expect they will suddenly change and be there for us?
- If a person says they are a “friend” yet has once showed up to ever offer any friendship ever, for decades, why would we suddenly expect true friendship when we are truly in need?
- If a person is a family member who has rarely shown any loyalty to you as “family” why do we make the assumption that “family” means diddly to them?
- If a person is a co-worker who has never had your back, only throws you under the bus at every turn, why would we expect anything different from them?
- If your bus driver has never smiled, ever, why would we expect a smile from them when we are having a really bad day?
We keep banging our heads up against the same brick walls and making ourselves so frustrated that we are not moving through our personal growth. We are stuck on others growth that they refuse to participate in.
Tired of being exhausted by this process? We cannot change others. It is that simple.
If they do not have any history of meeting even the most basic expectations, we are doing the head banging thing that hurts us, not them.
Accept that even our basic expectations are misplaced, they are not going to participate.
That does not mean to give up on all of mankind. Instead I am saying, think out our expectations and how the ones that are misplaced are disrupting peace in our lives.
These wildly destructive relationships may someday get resolved (or not) but for now I am simply talking about removing our misplaced expectations to get the tsunami of trauma and abuse to slow down so we can sort this out.
Letting Go of Expectations
Solution = stop expecting anything from anyone and see what shifts inside of YOU, not them.
This is so stinking crazy hard to do.
- Let’s say you have been abused in the past, you still feel the sting of trauma from it. Maybe we should never expect that the abuser will ever acknowledge the fact of the events. Maybe we should never expect anything from that person/people. We may never see justice, may never have face-to-face closure with that person/people. When can we stop expecting results that will never come?
- Let’s say you become chronically ill and cannot care for yourself. Do you expect that a mate, who has never taken care of you, all of a sudden has the capacity to care for your needs? Might not be fair, certainly is not humane, but can you really expect to change that person? When can we stop expecting results that will never come?
Those are two big examples. It is hard to get a grip on the fact that we have misplaced expectations that are creating our own frustrations much less tackle the concept to that depth.
Start with something small. Practice, practice, practice. In time we can learn to do this more effectively so that it lowers OUR levels of frustration that keep us stuck.
- Do you expect that someone will take out the trash? Stop expecting it, do it yourself with NO expectations. Then when they do it, be surprised because it happened!!
- Do you expect that someone will refill your water-glass because you are too ill to do it for yourself? Stop expecting it, figure out how to get hydrated. Keep a gallon water jug next to you at all times. Then when they do it, it is a shocker!!
- Do you expect someone to take care of your yard when there is no possible way that you can? Stop expecting that the obvious is even a thought to another. If it ever gets worked on, have a stinking party of celebration!!
- Do you expect basic respect from others? Hummm, are you finding the majority of people doing that? Why do we expect respect from people who do not respect themselves? When someone does show you respect, this is a big deal!!
When we remove the expectations, our view changes. Our frustration levels come down. We learn to accept only what we have control over. We have no control over others. Only people who truly care will participate in a real relationship where needs are met by both parties.
For me, this lowering of expectations is a better alternative than joining in on the insanity.
Be The Person You Are Today
We can only be who we are, with our unique limitations and qualities at any given point in time. Remove expectations of others for our benefit, not theirs. Reduce the frustrations.
Accept the limitations that we all live in. Do the very best we can with today, with the resources at hand.
To be the person you are not, is to waste the person you are. Just be you!!
Take the Expectation Challenge
Once you feel like you have conquered identifying your misplaced expectations, try to identify others misplaced expectations on you.
How are YOU not living up to others expectations, from their perspective?
Since we have learned how to stop expecting things from others that they are not willing to participate in, let’s see how others are placing expectations on us that we never thought about before.
Try to identify what someone else might be perceiving. Trying this on a person you are in a close healthy relationship with may prove to be rewarding. When you perceive that they might be expecting something from you, ask them about it. See if you are right or wrong. See how you can meet their needs so they are not crushed by their misplaced expectations in you.
We cannot possibly meet others every expectation. Not realistic to even try, nor is it a healthy way to live. But we can make others lives a bit brighter by trying to understand their expectations and helping them understand what we are able to give them and what we cannot. Clear communication brings relationships to a deeper more meaningful level.
If you need help to identify misplaced expectations and how to utilize resources you don’t even realize you have, contact a certified health coach trained in showing you how to open those doors.
How are you being you? How can you let others be them? Are you ready to give up expectations?
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)
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