Often times, I wish I could have better relationships with certain people in my life. When a friend doesn’t call me for weeks (or even months) my feelings are hurt; and I feel unloved and rejected. You know how the old saying goes… Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Instead of trying to disprove the latter statement, I have recently learned to embrace it.
There’s no question that subconsciously we place expectations on other people. Personally, I try to live up to the Golden Rule of Treat Others the Way You Would Want Them to Treat You. Because of this *lifestyle* I super glue expectations to people, only to feel disappointed when they don’t meet them. For instance, I like to send friends and family random, sweet and/or funny texts/pictures every so often. It’s my way of saying: Hey You! I’m thinkin’ bout ‘ya! Thus, my Golden Rule alter ego expects So-&-So to do the same every once in a while. And if they don’t, I feel like I’m no longer important to them.
Now I have come to realize that these kind and thoughtful gestures may not be in So-&-So’s personality. But just because they didn’t act the way I wanted them to, doesn’t mean I should assume they don’t still think about me, or appreciate me any less. Furthermore, I shouldn’t even worry about why So-&-So doesn’t call me anymore, or write on my Facebook wall. These expectations I place on people are binding, and leave me feeling frustrated and sad. Letting go of the strings has helped me see what is really important…
I feel good about myself when I shoot So-&-So a thoughtful text. Trying to wish someone to be different or change is not going to make me feel any better. I wish some friends from college would call me when they’re in town so we can get together and catch up. I wish I had a closer relationship with some family members. I wish. I wish. I wish.
Through prayer, and a lot of reading and thinking, I’ve learned to let go of these
wishes demands. Would it make me feel good if I had these better relationships? Yes. Do I need to have these better relationships in order to make me feel good? No. It is not necessary for people to acknowledge me. Obviously I think it’s undesirable, but it’s not terrible. No one can determine my happiness. Only I can.
We tell ourselves we’re supposed to be appreciated for what we give to others. But true giving doesn’t need acknowledgement, or anything in return for that matter. All that is important to me is how God views me. Now that I have stopped wishing for people to act differently, or in a particular way, I actually feel better! I’ve trained my thoughts to accept that I do not have the power to change others. & just because So-&-So doesn’t do what I *expect* him/her to do, doesn’t mean I don’t like So-&-So for who he/she is!
Do you place expectations on other people? How do you deal with the disappointment?