The Power of Expectations
You expect others to be a certain way and, if you are intuitive enough, you get what you expect by expecting the right things from the right people.
Unfortunately, most of you find yourselves shoveling your disappointment from one pile to the next, and from one relationship to the next, because you haven't paid attention to what you already know about yourself and the person to whom you ascribe those expectations.
If you are someone who quickly learns about a person from initial interactions, then you are a part of the small percentage of people who slip easily into the zone called "clarity."
If you aren't an elite member of this "clarity cohort", then over and over again, you invest yourself into a relationship, expecting the other person to respond "in kind", but they don't and then, the repeated disappointments come.
You, then, find yourself saying, " I don't understand why he is doing this over and over again, when I have told him that it hurts my feelings." or you might say, "I don't know what to do to be any clearer to her about what I need. But, it seems like it goes in one ear and out the other, until I yell.... then I get her attention and we fight about how mad I am, and lose sight of what the issue was to being with."
The key, my friends, is to accept what you already know about someone and keenly focus on what you already know about yourself.
No one will disappoint you if you follow those two rules.
When you accept what you already know about yourself and someone else, they will more swiftly disclose more facets of themselves to you and you will immediately know what next steps to take: to downsize your expectations or expand them.
When you finally take the time to look at what you already know about someone, you might experience shock about their behavior, but you will never experience the initial pain.
Initial pain comes from "un-knowingness."
When you have specific awareness, any experience connected to that awareness will not be a surprise. It's shape, semantics, tone, and intensity may be slightly different, but it falls under the category of "what you already know."
So, why, then are you repeatedly surprised when your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, wife, partner or friend has the same behavior, when you already know what you are dealing with?
Wouldn't you agree that if you already know something, you can develop a plan that is protective and productive in ANY relationship?
The best way to do this is to know exactly who YOU are, what you expect of and value in yourself and in the world in which you live.
What do you value? Dignity, honesty, fear, complacency, attention, significance, love, contribution, being right, anger, hope?
How do you move towards those values? What do you do to make them an integral part of your life?
Do you practice behaviors that bring these desirable values to life?
What values to you run away from? Infidelity,cheating, monogamy, lying, fraud, stealing, manipulation, anger, vulnerability?
How do you distance yourself from them? What do you do to make sure that you don't exemplify the values you dislike?
Do you practice behaviors that close the entry way to any of these non-virtuous characteristics?
What do you really expect of yourself?
For some of you, this is a candid and scary question to answer.
Sure, you can give me the answer that you think I want to hear or that might impress me, but what you TRULY expect of yourself is silently living inside you.
You live what you value and no clever conversation can change that.
I expect myself to be kind, to be of service to others, to stand up for myself when I need to, to give selflessly to my family and those friends in my life who have shown me equivalent respect and love.
I expect myself to practice patience with others when I am in the height of my struggle with impatience.
I expect myself to be human and do things that might cause other people pain and I expect myself to ask for forgiveness once I become aware of my behavior.
I expect myself to have good, kind, and strong people in my life who challenge me, who give me honest feedback, even when it might hurt, and who help me to be a better person through their strength and wisdom.
I expect myself to accept people for who they are and not attempt to change one single cell of them to fit my needs.
I expect myself to put the people I love as "first" in my life, along with my faith in God and my spirituality.
I expect myself to learn everything I can about how to be the best person I can be; and that often times comes from making mistakes and feeling pain.
I expect myself to never mistreat myself by ignoring red flags in a relationship, never to turn my cheek when someone attempts to exploit me with their lack of awareness of themselves, and I expect myself to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, at least once.
Expectations are incredibly powerful.
You can unknowingly bestow your expectations on another via desperation, desire, want and need and in doing so, you will find yourself swimming in a pool of dread and disappointment.
Or, you can "know thyself" as best as you can and live as close to the virtues you wish to exemplify, and un-attach yourself from any outcome.
What you expect of yourself is the starting point for any relationship.
No one can be what for you what you need to be for yourself.
Expect good things for yourself and pay attention to what people show you about who they are the first time.
Their actions towards you define what they expect of themselves.
In love and light, Janis www.cohenfamilycounseling.com