Where do we get our expectations from?
If you were a child of the 60’s and 70’s like me, we had plenty of unrealistic pop culture icons.
Like the Brady Bunch. All those groovy kids in a big house with parents that never fought – and a housekeeper to boot!
I wanted to be That Girl, living in the big city like Marlo Thomas and with a boyfriend handsome as Donald Hollinger. Oh, and with hair that flipped up at the bottom and never looked out of place.
Even outside of TV (and Instagram), we see how people present themselves on the surface, and it all looks so PERFECT.
Or we find out how much someone much younger and less experienced earns and disappointment (or jealousy) kicks in.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy.
Our expectations can be dashed at ever turn. No one ever goes into a marriage thinking it will ever end. Few people take on jobs or make a career move that they think won’t pay off. You plan a vacation and don’t expect to get the flu!
We soon learn that there’s no crystal ball and there are no guarantees.
Which could be quite scary unless you believed that everything is always working out for you (and me.)
Lately I’ve been thinking about how many times my expectations have led to unnecessary disappointments.
Is everyone required to march to the beat of MY drum?
When I impose MY idea of how people should be on them, I miss out on enjoying how THEY dance to their own rhythm of life.
My inner critic is LOUD, and the only thing that shuts it up is huge doses of empathy.
Putting myself in the other guy’s shoes for a minute silences the voice of judgment.
The good news is, we can always find our way back to love. The Four Agreements helps me with this:
- Be impeccable with your word (Speak kindly and in truth to yourself and others)
- Don’t take things personally (Oy! The hardest for me.)
- Don’t make assumptions (Another biggie.)
- Always do your best.
Our biggest mistake when dealing with people not following OUR script? Trying to change them.
Honey, you’ll wear yourself OUT.
I’ve decided to wave the white flag and trade my expectations for acceptance.
When I accept people, just as they are, the energy between us is completely different. It no longer drains or disappoints me to be with them. And oh how good it feels to spend time with someone who accepts me (more than expects from me.)
My friend Renee is a “no expectations” sister. She always lets me stay at her house when I’m traveling for work to Philadelphia. It may have been months since I’ve seen her, but she’ll take one look at me when I arrive and say, “Go straight to bed.”
She might have been looking forward to sister time and a long talk – but I don’t have to perform for her. I don’t have to dance around my exhaustion to make her feel our time together is worthwhile. For her, it’s enough that we are in the same house at the same time. And there will always be coffee time in the morning.
And coffee time means her husband Steve, who is a brother to me, will be at that table.
Double doses of love and acceptance.
Renee is the one who introduced me to Angel Cards (the genesis of our Word of the Week tradition). We start every morning together picking a word for the day. There is a sweetness to the ritual that is amplified by Renee’s palpable hope that, for me, the day ahead will be the best day ever.
I can’t let Renee down, because she loves so purely and completely.
Everyone needs a Renee. And I am trying to be more like her.
More on that and a plea for help with the new Word of the Week! (The universe knows I need to work on this area, pronto!)
How do YOU find balance in your life? Would love to hear your thoughts…