The silent relationship killer called expectations

Who in your life is letting you down?

Or maybe someone’s telling you that you’re letting them down?

What if, in the time it takes you to read this article, you could see different possibilities and feel differently about it?

Not convinced? Then read on and let’s see where we get to.

Expectations suck. They set us up for disappointment.

The expectations we have of others.  

The expectations others have of us.

The expectations we have of ourselves.

Now I’m not talking about places where they’re clearly laid out, talked about, shared and agreed. I’m talking about the murky waters of friends, lovers and family. Places where there are often unspoken expectations.

My partner should make me happy. My children should behave in a certain way. My boss should appreciate me.

You can only be disappointed in someone if they haven’t lived up to the expectations you have of them.

For years I had a friend who would say one thing and do another. I was constantly disappointed in them. When I began to see that the actions and things they ‘failed’ to do were in fact about the expectations that I had imposed on them (in my head) – it helped me to see the experience in a different way.

It’s not so much the action that the person does or doesn’t take, but what we think that the action means in our world (If they really cared about me they would/would not do x). So for me I was shown there were clearly expectations that I had of this person.

In intimate relationships unmet expectations cause all sorts of drama and strife.

 ‘You never tell me you love me’ – the expectation is that the person will tell you that as you often you think they should.

‘We don’t have sex enough’ The expectation is that you think you should have more of it than you do.

I don’t know what it is for you, but wherever you feel resentful and let down – perhaps it is time to look at things in a whole new way. Especially if what’s currently happening is causing you consternation.

Remember we do not have the power to change anyone else – only ourselves.

I know frustrating sometimes! But in my experience it’s how this game of life works.

If you as my friend, lover or family, have unspoken expectations of me then these really have nothing to do with me. You do not see me as who you would like me to be, but as who you want me to be, and you use that to judge whether or not I live up to your acceptable standards…. Not so much allowance going on there really is there?

Not so much fun for the person with the expectations, or the person on the receiving end?

It totally sucks to be judged against someone else’s standards, our even our own standards.

And yet so many of us try and live up to others expectations because we believe that we need that person, or because we don’t want to upset them.

Really what we’re doing is making ourselves a second rate version of who we could be. Living someone else’s idea of us, not our own idea.

I can think of one particular relationship where I really tried to live up to someone’s idea of who I should be, and how I should be…. In the end I had no idea who I was – Life felt like a bit like ‘an elephant tiptoeing through a glass shop trying not to break anything’ – not so much fun.

So who do you have expectations of?

What would happen if you began to get curious about them – what would open up in the relationship if you didn’t have these expectations?

What if you owned them?

What would be the worst thing that could happen? And the best?

And what conversation do you perhaps need to have with the person?

So it is never ok to have expectations?

No. I think that where expectations are clearly spoken, explicit and agreed then that works.  An example of this would bedoing a job for a company. There is a clear contract and laid expectations. You do this and in return you get this.

Never assume that someone else sees the world as you do. It will get you into all sorts of trouble.

So what is the opposite of expectations?

For me it is allowance.

Being in allowance of someone (and ourselves) is such a magical gift to both give and receive.

It is saying that they (and you) are just fine as they are….. Doesn’t that just want to make you breathe out a sigh of relief?

If someone requires you to live up to their expectations  to be in their world, then I am curious about the authenticity of the connection.

Do we want people to be themselves with us or do we want them to be who we want to them be?

And here’s the weird upside down thing. The more we drop our expectations, the more we can enjoy the person in front of us for who they are….. much more than when we had expectations of us. And then it seems they surprise and delight us.

So you’ve read the article.

So I’m curious how do you feel about yourself, the person or situation? Can you see different possibilities and is there a glimmer of light that you can see how this could transform your relationship?

I wonder? Let me know

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