There’s a game I like to play called “Help Me Think This Through, Would You!” The rules are simple — I ask questions I need help sorting through myself. When you answer, when you’re truthful and honest — it helps me be truthful and honest as well. Here’s one that came up recently, “do you have a fault you would change?” The answer I settled on wasn’t the answer I originally thought of as my biggest fault. I originally thought my biggest fault was my lack of patience. But, suddenly the brain began to synapse and I saw my (one of my) biggest faults staring me down from the keyboard upon which I was typing — expectations.
I have expectations in people. I create scenarios of how I think a conversation will go or a card I think will arrive in the mail or an email I think may arrive any second now. Then… nothing. And I’m left with the chaos that I created. Not because the other person is unthinking or uncaring but because I am too thinking — the chaos is my own making. It must be incredibly freeing to not have expectations of others. To never feel let down or disappointed or left out.
The expectations I sometimes levy on people — unbeknown to them — can leave me with a feeling of rampant chaos. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have expectations for your kids to make good grades in school, for your spouse to treat you with dignity and respect, for your dog to greet you everyday you come home. We do have some expectations and those are good. It’s the ones we cast down on our unsuspecting friends and loved ones, the ones where we created the scenarios of grandeur, the ones that leave us sad.
So, my new goal is to attempt to only have expectations for myself. I believe that if I be the person for others that I (mistakenly) expect them to be for me, then, eventually…maybe, it will come back to me. I need to be the friend I want to have, I need to be the mother my kids dream about having, I need to expect great things from myself, and I need to love those who are gracious enough to be in my life just for being in my life. The expectations should be only for my own behavior and when that occurs, the rampant chaos will no longer rule my world.
So, back to my favorite game… if you could change one fault of yours, what would it be and why?
“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations” — Elliott Larson
“The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” — Eli Khamarov
“Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. Don’t over-analyse your relationships. Stop playing games. A growing relationship can only be nurtured by genuineness.” — Leo F. Buscaglia