“Expectation is the root of all heartache” – William Shakespeare
The above statement by Shakespeare is undoubtedly true, as I am sure that there is not one person out there who can say they’ve never felt disappointment. The disappointment of expecting someone to be or act a certain way, most of all, is something that causes us an unnecessary amount of heartache, for us and the person we are unfairly “judging”.
I won’t pretend I have not been one of those people myself, unfairly judging others, especially when a person has not lived up to my expectations of how a kind and considerate person should behave. Even more so, when it involves family or people I consider friends. If someone did not buy me a Christmas or birthday present when I have done so for them, I might feel somewhat offended. Or when I ask someone how they are, and they respond with “I’m fine” without asking me in return, I would feel annoyed and discouraged from ever asking them again.
But to respond in such a way, does not make us any better. You see, sometimes we expect more from others, because we would be willing to do that much for them. But not everyone has the same heart as yours. Not everyone was raised with your morals and ethics and principles. Not everyone has had a happy childhood. There can be countless reasons why people behave a certain way. Most of the time, they are not aware of how they come across, or what they’re doing “wrong”, or their circumstances don’t allow them to be any other way. What is wrong is to judge someone, especially when you don’t know their story.
On the flip side, perhaps there are many ways that you yourself have let someone else down. Perhaps you have not lived up to someone else’s expectations of you. But that’s okay. You don’t have to. At the end of the day you can’t please everyone. We are all human, and we all make mistakes from time to time. These “flaws” mustn’t be the reason we allow ourselves to lose our connection to others.
What we CAN do, is accept one another for who we are, exactly as we are. That is not to say we can’t strive for our own self development, in order to one day become the loving, compassionate people we would like to be. But as T.D. Jakes so eloquently put it; “We have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve”. But if we can embrace each other’s flaws, and accept each other for all that we are and all that we are not, we give one another permission to just be. We wouldn’t be who we are without these flaws, after all.
The bottom line is, expectations lead to disappointment, resentment and ultimately unhappiness. But in that moment when disappointment presents itself, take a step back, open your heart, and realize that this person is doing the best they can, the only way they know how. Accept them fully, just as they are, just as you would like someone to do for you. Love is always the answer.
“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly” – Tony Robbins
– Josie xoxo