The idea for this blog post came to me late one night as I lay lying in bed awaiting sleep. It had been a bit of a trying evening, OK, in all honesty it may have been an eventful week, full of interesting turns of events. I mulled over why I was feeling exasperated, frustrated, and beaten down.
(I am taking a deep breath and writing this blog post in that hopes that no one will be offended by my words – I write, as usual, in the hopes that you, dear readers, can relate to my feelings, experiences, and perspective and that, if you have felt this way, you realize that you are not ALONE.)
I place expectations on myself to “be” a certain way. I expect certain things of myself – such as compassion, consideration, and thoughtfulness – which are all things that I am capable of. I do, however, feel extremely disappointed in myself when I don’t say the right thing, when I don’t find the right words, or when I forget something which leads to me being considered un-thoughtful.
I place expectations on my children to behave a certain way. I expect certain things of them – such as respect, honesty, kindness, and sincerity – which are all good and right character traits to have. I do, however, feel greatly let down when they don’t behave in a certain way. I feel defeated when they disappoint me in their actions or words, to the point where I take it as a personal failure that I am a “bad” parent, that I didn’t catch their behavior before it escalated, and even that I didn’t say the right words to prevent the event from happening.
I place expectations on my husband to act in a certain way. I expect certain things of him – such as to listen, understand, and make me feel better – which are all things that a husband might do. I do, however, feel greatly betrayed when he doesn’t have the time to listen, doesn’t quite understand, and isn’t able to find the words to make me feel better. When I am disappointed with his behaviors, or lack thereof, I grow angry and resentful that he just “doesn’t get it”.
I place expectations on people in my life to be the kind of friend that I hope I am to them. I expect certain things of them – such as to support, encourage, and be there for me – which are all the things a good friend would do. I do, however, feel saddened and alone when I don’t feel that some people in my life are there to support me on my low days, to encourage and build me up when I am weak, and to be there for me when I need them the most. When I am lonely, even when surrounded by people, I grow quiet and distant.
All of these realizations boil down to one huge issue: there are some pretty big expectations which I place on myself and other people.
I CANNOT control the actions of others. As much as I’d like to control how my children behave, I do not have that ability. I CAN demonstrate and be a good role model to them but the reality is that they are beings unto themselves and only they can determine how they will act. They are also young and experimenting with their own self-control and self-discipline. I can teach and I can discipline, but I cannot control.
I CANNOT assume that my husband will always understand – especially if I do not clearly communicate to him how I am feeling. He cannot read my mind, nor can he assess my mood without having a clear idea of how my day went. I CAN talk about what has happened and how I am feeling in order to gain his understanding.
I CANNOT expect that my friends will always know what’s going on, especially if I don’t share what I am feeling. People will not always know how to help if they don’t know what to help with. I CAN reach out to my friends when I need them and know that they will be there.
We can’t expect others to read our minds; if we don’t communicate to others what our needs are, they will never live up to them. Expectations will continuously lead to disappointment if they are considered as exactly that: things, known or unknown, that are EXPECTED of ourselves and others. If we are able to clearly communicate our needs and desires, we may find that we will be easier on ourselves and on those people closest to us.
We don’t have to lie awake at night wondering where we went wrong with our children, our husbands, and maybe even our friendships. We don’t have to second guess ourselves and wonder how we managed to disappoint ourselves so much throughout the day. Being able to adequately express our intents and desires in order to receive what we want from ourselves and what we need from others will be what leads to satisfaction and contentment in our own lives, and a much better night of sleep.
(Dear Readers, Thank you for believing, reading, and sharing! Yours, ~ K ~)