We’re Only Human
|Photo By: eblaser (Creative Commons)|
If you’re like me, you obsess about it. You dwell. You spend way too much time mulling it over. Turning it every which way in your head trying to discern where you went wrong. Wondering why they didn’t do what you expected them to do.
But you never, ever, think that it’s them. Nope. You blame yourself. ”What did I do to cause them to not do what I expected?”
How could it be anything other than your fault? After all, it is what YOU expected.
Salt In the Wound
So now I bet you think I am going to tell you that it is NOT you. That this is NOT your fault. That the only mistake you made was taking on the burden of being wrong. It’s not you, it’s them. That from here on out we’ll all be happy-go-lucky, skipping along singing “Zip-pity-doo-da,” enjoying sunshine and puppy dogs.
Well, I am not going to. It is a painful thing to deal with but the truth is…
IT IS YOU FAULT!
It’s not them. It is most definitely you.
There, do you feel better? I know I do.
Now, I am sure you’re a bit confused right? Didn’t the headline claim that I was going to give you a simple one step solution to stop being disappointed by people. Well, yes. Yes, I am. But first I need you to do something and it is going to be uncomfortable. So, I guess this is a two step solution.
Exit Disappointment – Stage Left
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself about the last time – for simplicity sake – someone disappointed you or failed to live up to your expectation. What were you honestly expecting? Was it something they always or usually do? Or was it something they NEVER do?
Because if your expectation was that this person was going to do something that they have NEVER done, something that would be so out of character that even you would stop and say, “Wait, who are you?” then, the truth is, you deserve to be disappointed.
But you don’t have to be, not anymore. Not if you alter one tiny aspect of your relationship with the world.
Lower your expectations. To be more exact – stop expecting things from people that have never done what you’re expecting. To further simplify –
Stop expecting what you’ve never gotten.
Has Bob ever said “good morning”? Has Eric ever asked you about you model train collection? Has Tonja ever asked you how you feel?
Then why get bent when they don’t? Just because you would – does not obligate them to reciprocate.
Now, am I saying to stop loving people? No. Am I suggestion we stop believing the best in people? Absolutely not. Am I implying we should not be in prayer for these people. Really? Does this in anyway mean we should not continue to adhere to what Jesus said was the second greatest commandment – love your neighbor as yourself? Seriously? Are you even listening to yourself?
Think for a moment, when was the last time YOU said “good morning” to Bob, asked Eric about one of his hobbies or checked to see how Tonja was feeling? What I am saying is that maybe, just maybe the change in behavior you’d like to see in your friend or co-worker needs to start someplace else.
As I look at most of my interpersonal conflict in life, almost all of it stems from expectations I've had that weren't met – and many times the expectations weren't really reasonable!
It’s funny how the more I look at this the more I discover that I am not the only one suffering form UES – Unreasonable Expectation Syndrome