Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's your expectation?

I can disappoint myself. I can fall short of my own expectations. There are lots of days that I have regret that I didn't do enough, and quietly reprimand myself. Lots of days... well probably most days.

Sometimes I wish that I could just enjoy and let go. Not always carry the guilt of my self perceived underachievement. It's like I am trying to hide something from myself all the time, not quite acknowledging it and always a little anxious that I may be discovered.

I'm not quite sure what that is all about and neither do I know what to do to change it. It feels as though I'm being measured up and judged, but I couldn't really tell you by who.

There is a lesson that I have been learning, oh I don't know for about the last twenty years or so, and it goes something like this.... if you can disappoint yourself, others will certainly disappoint you. I mean think about it - you know what you want, how you feel, you know you better than anyone else and you still disappoint yourself. It is a guarantee that someone in your family, parents, spouse, children, close friends will disappoint you too.

Now before you get to thinking what a downer this post is - this is the power of this realization, for me anyway. We spend way too much energy on being disappointed. Let it go already. When you realize that being disappointed by a loved one, is a reality of having a loved one, it's easier to take it in stride, not take it so personally, and move on.

There is another side to this as well. There are people in your family/friend circle that you have certain expectations and desires of. Take your parents for example - most people, although some will deny it - want their parent's approval and love. We want to feel loved. Problem is that the way our parents may demonstrate their love, may not be in the way that makes us feel loved.

Your parents may have showered you with gifts, but you need quality time, time to talk and time to be heard to feel loved. Or maybe you need words of affirmation, to hear that they are proud of you, and love you, but they show their love through acts of service, by doing things for you. This is not just with your parents, of course - any relationship has these mismatches to deal with - although some people have similar "love languages" which certainly makes those relationships very comfortable.

This can be blindsiding to some relationships. A husband that thinks he is showing his spouse love through paying the bills, and keeping things organized, simply can't understand why his spouse doesn't feel loved. But for her, it quality time and physical touch that make her feel loved.

You don't have to rack your brains to figure out what everyone else wants, but if you have some relationships that are important to you - it would be wise to try and figure it out.

There is a great book I read a few years ago called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.  It is very insightful and I believe you will have no trouble figuring out what your language of love is, and as importantly, your spouse's.

By now your probably tired of reading... when is this going to end... well if you still with me - hang in there.

Here's something I'm struggling with big time. I seem to have expectations that someone else will treat me in a fair way, a kind way, or in a way that feels loving to me, even though historical they never have. Every time I am gob smacked and surprised and mutter something to myself like, I can't believe it.... Thankfully, I'm wising up a bit and what's occurring to me now is a different statement... why would I be surprised?

So logically, I know that my initial expectation doesn't make sense, but childishly, I allow it to hurt. It's almost like I'm waiting for that other person to treat me in accordance with what makes me feel loved and accepted, and when they don't, I feel rejected and like there is something wrong with me. If I take a broader look - it's not about me. It's nothing to be taken personally, it's just how that person is.

The simple premise is this - If you don't treat me in a way that makes me feel loved, and you are some in my life that is supposed to love me, then I feel like I'm must not be worthy of your love. That is painful.

Although this has taken me decades to figure out, and I still struggle with it at times, I understand now that I just have to be ok with me. I can't base my happiness on whether or not I feel like I have earned someone else's approval, love or acceptance. If you treat me poorly, that is a reflection on you, not me.

In your important relationships it is vital that you share what makes you feel loved and what your needs are. Don't take for granted, or make the mistake of if he loves me then he'll know. Express your needs - if the other person values the relationship, and you, they will want to meet your needs. If they don't then sadly it is time to move on, this is not just with a spouse, but family, friends, etc... Don't spend a lot of time with people who don't care about your needs - every relationship has two sides.

I know it sounds scary to move on. I have done it. It was scary, it was hard, it was painful. But it was  worth it. Discovering love is worth it. Being truly loved is worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment