I recently learned something that has brought a great freedom to my life that I would like to share with you. It is something that I think many of us do not realize that it is something that we do. And it is something that steals our joy from us. Let me start off by giving you an example so that you will be able to fully grasp the issue. Lets say that you have a friend that is going through a tough time. They are facing some financial hardships and it is causing them a lot of stress. Out of the goodness of your heart and the love that you have for that friend you help them pay a bill. They are grateful and show their appreciation by cooking a meal for you. You are at peace with the situation and your friendship moves forward. Well awhile down the road you are going through something and need some emotional support. You go to the friend that you helped out earlier and share what is on your heart. That friend listens but offers no advice or help. You feel hurt because you were there for them when they needed you but they are not offering anything to help you in your time of need. All you really want is for them to tell you that it is going to be okay and to do something for you that will lift you up. But you have not said to them what would make you feel better for the moment. So the conversation ends with you feeling even more hurt than before you talked to that friend. You feel let down and feel like that friend isn’t so much of a friend like you thought they were. It’s not like it would take much to fill your need, right? I mean you helped them with money and all that you are needing is some of their time and inspiring words but they can’t seem to give you that. All you are asking for is some of their time, but, have you actually asked them? You see, this is where the problem actually is.
You went into the conversation with your friend with an expectation of them offering words of advice or encouragement and to do something kind for you to show they care for you. You went into it with expecting something but did not tell them what you needed, therefore you did not get it. And because you did not get what you were expecting you are let down and disappointed, possibly severely hurt. But to how much fault can you really put on your friend for it? Is it their fault that they did not know what you were looking for from them? Was it their fault that they did not know what you were expecting from them?
We often have expectations of others that are not met simply because we did not communicate the expectation. We look to others to fill a need of ours and it is not fulfilled simply because the person did not know the need. We think that a person does not care about us because they do not do something that we would do. Just because we show love in one way does not mean that we can expect others to show love in the same way. Or just because it is in our nature to do things in a certain way does not mean that it is the nature of everyone else. To one person it may mean the world to them for someone to tell them they are appreciated and to another person they may need to be told and shown in some materialistic way in order for it to mean as much as it did to the other person.
When we go into something with expectations that are unknown to others we are setting ourselves up to get disappointed and hurt. We have to make sure that we let our wants and needs be known. We can not expect others to do things the way that we would do them. And we can not get mad when we have unmet expectations that have not been voiced.
I know that there are many things that we think is a natural “know that you should do” thing but it may not be what another person would do. Let’s say that you asked someone to go pick up some lunch for you and you will pay for their lunch as well. Because you paid for their lunch for going and getting it for you, you don’t feel that you need to say thank you. But the other person’s feelings are hurt because you did not say thank you to them for going and getting it. They feel like since they thanked you for buying their lunch that you would thank them as well and since you didn’t it hurt their feelings. But you don’t see it because you feel as if you showed your appreciation by buying their food. They had an expectation of you saying thank you but you didn’t and instead of them saying something about it they choose to not say anything and have their feelings hurt. I know that may not be a great example but hopefully you get the point that I am trying to get across.
When I learned this aspect it caused me to be able to let go of a lot of offensive feelings that I had towards others and it enabled my joy to increase. I was able to understand that it was not that these people meant to do me wrong, hurt me, or cause disappointment. They did not know that I was expecting something from them, therefore they did not know that I was looking for them to do it. And how could they be deliberately hurting me when they did not know that they were doing something that was hurting me. I hope that I have explained this point good enough that it brings insight to you in ways that can free you as well. What expectations have you had from others that were not met and has caused you pain or disappointment? Did those people know that you were expecting those things from them or did you assume that they would give you what you were expecting?