Sometime last year, a friend made me realise something, something I would never have thought in myself was an issue! An issue that indeed was an issue within an issue!
I chose to observe it, reflect and look deeper, and I accepted that my friend was right: I have an expectation issue!
And not only that I expected quite a lot from people, but that I expected this due to underlying self-esteem issues that I possibly might not have acknowledged if it was not brought to my attention the way it was!
Everyone has their way of dealing with events. While my friend’s first outburst of this hurt me, I had to take a step back and chose to see the truth in her words as opposed to how the truth was delivered.
Sometimes, when we focus too much on delivery, we miss the essence of what the other person is saying! Sometimes, the truth is just the truth, no matter how it is delivered.
That is not to say we should all go around saying whatever we feel like to others about them, not caring how it may hurt or impact them. However, as the person on the receiving end, I believe we can choose how we receive a statement, criticism, or feedback. We determine our reaction. The person who delivered it is ultimately responsible for their delivery.
From any feedback I receive, I choose what I need, and that is how I want to live because sometimes I realised it’s not personal and each person is in a battle with their own shadow, and not necessarily with you.
What I learnt from that experience; coming to terms with the fact that my expectations stood me out as someone who generally feels entitled, shook my peripheral existence for a minute.
Also, I saw a lot of EGO at play.
For someone who would otherwise consider herself humble, I was shocked to see or even admit to my level of pride or arrogance.
It turns out we can become so prideful and arrogant even in our humility. How? As pride and humility, both can come from a place of insecurity and low self-esteem. Therefore, when we feel our ego is challenged, immediately our protective walls come up, masking itself in pride and anger at the fact that even our “humility” did not get or give us self-worth.
We expect to be validated and counted worthy because we are humble, so it is our entitlement to be treated preferentially, and therein lies the ounce of pride.
While a lot of people may not want to admit this, we all struggle with this feeling of entitlement in whatever areas of our relationships or our lives. Whether it’s the friend we expect to return our calls at a specific time, a family member we expect to be there for us whenever we need them, or a boss whom we think we have a good relationship with that we expect to understand our every circumstance or situation, or the expectation that our children should by default accept that we are in charge as parents and shouldn’t express their wish that isn’t in alignment with ours.
For some of us, we expect others to save us, to be our saviour, to carry us wherever we want to go and in whatever direction we desire. We expect them to give us their time because after all, we didn’t have anyone else that will listen to us or care to understand us the way we want. We expect them to be the sister, the brother, the mother, the father, the friend, uncle and aunt we never had, or even the ones we had because we want them to be a replacement or to fill a void.
We expect them to be everything everyone else is not unto us because it is only there, in their acceptance, their meeting a need we believe we lack or have lacked, that we will feel worthy, satisfied, looked after, heard and belong.
We often project. We project all our needs and wants on them and hang on to them as if hanging by a thin thread because somehow we have believed that our survival depended on them, this one person or these groups of people – if they don’t deliver us, then surely we are doomed.
One of the crucial things that I learnt in the latter part of 2019, is that you honestly cannot WAIT for others to save you, YOU HAVE TO SAVE YOURSELF!
I like to put in this way; we are all soldiers on the same war front, we are under attack from all corners through the many arrows and bullets that life fires at us. Whether represented in our health, our finances, our family life, relationships and the likes, we are all fighting one battle or the other.
So, if every soldier on the war front is seeking for the other soldier to carry him when the battlefield gets hot, what are the chances that anyone will make it out alive? What are the chances anyone would stand at the end of the day?
The moral of the story is, we as individual soldiers are fighting similar battles with our friends, colleagues, neighbours, brothers, sisters, parents, partners, etc., we must take a level of responsibility for ourselves, and do our best in defending what needs to be defended, standing tall and staying strong to get to where we need to get to and WIN!
In the battlefront, I cannot carry you and defend myself. You shouldn’t expect me to. Yes, we can come alongside each other, support one another to fight a stronger opponent together, but the crunch is we are fighting together, one person is not solely dependent on the other! It is impossible to carry an injured man when you are injured because everyone has issues they are handling. However, two wounded men can lock arms together and get themselves to safety with both pulling their weight!
So, in 2020, don’t expect anyone to carry you, carry yourself! In whatever area you know you have become solely dependent on others to lift you, whether it is in your mood, motivation, setting out to achieve your goals or even your happiness, or in love, stop expecting others to save you. Save yourself. STAND UP, defend your cause, be your soldier and win your battle against life.
When we look for others to save us and expect them to, we become dependent on them, doing almost or nothing for ourselves. And when our expectations are not met, we become disappointed, and in some cases, some of us blame others for our misfortunes. So we cry, it is because Sarah did not do this for me, that is why I am depressed and so on!
What I found interesting is that it is those we least depend on, whom we are not expecting to carry our weight, that tends to be the ones that usually stand for us the most when it matters most. They willingly do this because we do not place any responsibility on them. What is further interesting is when they do bear our burdens when we least expect it, the impact on us is enormous. We feel elevated! Our loads are lighter, and we gain a renewed strength to keep going.
The more you expect from others, the less you receive. The less you expect, the more you appreciate when you receive. When others give willingly and selflessly, it takes us to a place where love, peace, and genuine support reside.
Last year March, on the BRAG Magazine Online Journal, I reviewed a book by David Richo titled, ‘When the past is present: Healing Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships’. This book I believe will be beneficial in helping us put perspective on how we project and transfer our expectations onto others in our relationships and ways in which it does not promote the level of growth or depth we might want from that relationship.
If you want to learn more about the book and think you might find it useful, you can read my review on www.thebragmagazine.com or you can click the link available at the bottom of the posted transcript to this audio.
Thank you so much for listening. I will love to hear from you, so leave me a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you a pleasant New Year.
Until next time, take it easy.