“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – William Shakespeare
Often when I am coaching a client on upsets they are experiencing in a relationship I hear these statements:
• “Why would anyone in their right mind think like that?”
• “A normal person would never behave that way.”
• “Why do I have to be the one to TELL them what I need?”
• “If they really loved me they would… “
• “If they would just listen to me, I know I’m right, and we wouldn’t be having this problem.”
So, here’s the thing. Whenever we go down the road of wanting to CHANGE someone else to make our self happier, we are more times than not in for a very bumpy ride.
Different Filters & Beliefs
We all, yes ALL, see things though our own filters and beliefs that have developed over a lifetime. These beliefs are developed at a very young age and continue to morph as we grow older and have more experiences. My favorite way to demonstrate this is with the story of the snake.
Imagine that you and I are sitting in a room together and suddenly a very large snake starts to crawl toward us. Now you are deathly afraid of snakes, while I on the other hand am a Herpetologist who has traveled the world studying snakes. You most likely would run out of the room in terror, while I would be over the moon excited because this is a snake I have been looking to find for ten years!
Get it? Same snake, two different reactions, all based on our filters and beliefs. (Truth be told, I would be the one running out of the room, but I think you get my point).
Communication & Compromise
What can we expect in our relationships? To be treated with respect, care, love and kindness. These are to be expected in any healthy relationship.
This is usually where someone says, “but I can’t stand when they do this, or don’t do that, something needs to change!”. I get it, we all have behaviors that can annoy the other person. So, here’s where communication and compromise come in.
Are you speaking up? Are you asking for what you want? Or, are you expecting the other person to be a mind reader? You have a choice; you can tell the other person what you want (even if it must be repeated) or you can stay in upset. Staying in upset often is because we are equating their ability to remember what we asked, to how much they love us; “If they really loved me, they… “.
But here’s the harder question to ask yourself. Are you wanting them to do and say something the way YOU would do or say it? This type of thinking will most assuredly keep you in upset. Are you open to compromise? or are you wanting to be right?.
Awareness – Opportunities for Growth
This topic has many layers, but also many opportunities for growth if you are willing to explore it. If you are finding that the other person’s behavior is too much for you to accept then perhaps it is not a relationship for you to be in.
But before you head for the exit, remember that managing your expectations and accepting people for who they are is key. Would you want someone to expect you to change who you are just for them? Most likely not.