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?
Please follow and like us:

6 Replies to “Expectations”

  1. I struggle with this too. Now living far away from hometown family and friends when I do head home, I am usually the one rearranging my schedule to meet their needs and even then they sometimes don't give me a window. I used to get upset about it but I've been trying to not let it stress me out and enjoy the time I have with those who make the time to see me and will call/skype me just because. Its a constant stuggle not wanting to cut ties and stay in touch with people, but its a two way street and I've learned you can't always put in all the effort.

    Hope this helps put your mind at ease.

  2. It's like you can read my mind! I have been struggling with this for a while. You would think after being away from home and friends for 3 years i would have already figured out a way to deal with it, but I still struggle with it.
    I think I'm way too much of a worrier and I tend to take things way more personally than I should. I think when you consider someone your "friend" that means you should know roughly what's going on in their life and that communication should come from both ends, not just one. It's hard because over the course of 3 years I've had to figure out the hard way that some people just aren't as good of friends with me as I thought they were and that they didn't care to put in the effort of a long-distance friendship.

    I think it's important to just treat others with as much kindness and love as I wish I would receive and if it's not given in return then that's fine. It's like you said, all that is important is how He sees us and how we know we are doing our best.

  3. I still think about you even though I am a horrible messager/obviously awkward phone caller. I always wish you guys lived here so we could have play dates. Miss you!

  4. I think as we get older and our priorities change (getting married or having a baby etc.), our friendships also change. I still have a hard time accepting this, but some people don't stay as connected when their lives diverge. It doesn't mean they are less important or your shared memories mean any less. But sometimes it hurts when we don't get the return we were looking for. Your thoughts are right on target, no matter how often we reach out, it's not what we get back… but the act of giving that should be celebrated 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *