Thursday, 25 August 2016

Great Expectations.

For some time now I've found myself becoming increasingly disappointed in people. Friends, family, the wider world. If I let it, it could really get me down. So I've chosen to examine this view instead. I asked myself what I'm really disappointed in.

It turns out that I expect people to behave the way I think they should; the way I would. And I expect them to do this consistently; no exceptions. And I feel disappointed when they don't do this. Which happens a lot.

I'm sure you'll agree, there's some glaringly obvious flaws with this thinking! Firstly, expecting, or assuming, is dangerous. My other half is forever informing me that "to assume is to make an ass out of u (you) and me". Thank you dear, very clever. However he's right. If we expect something, particularly something we have little, if any, control over, we are inviting disappointment. To hope would be healthier I think, but not to expect. We need to be aware and accept that things may not go according to our plan.

Ah yes, my plan – my standards of behaviour; my rules for living. It seems I forgot to issue this vast document to every single person I meet. So I'm expecting people to live up to a job description, when they haven't applied for the job, aren't aware of the person specification and have no idea of the criteria they're expected to meet. Slightly harsh?!
And us human's aren't predictable; we aren't consistent. We like our habits, yes, and many of us like routine, but with the best will in the world we cannot possibly be consistent all day, every day, given all the many variables we face in our lives.

No wonder then that I feel constantly disappointed – I've set myself up for it!

The most amusing revelation in my self-analysis however is that if I apply the same expectations to myself, I fall short. I don't meet my own standards of behaviour, all the time. I'm not consistent. I'm not always kind; actually I can be horrible when I'm tired. I'm not always reliable; in fact I'm often late, despite hating poor punctuality in others! Basically then I'm a living contradiction...

So I'm adopting acceptance. Despite my flaws and inconsistencies, people accept me for who I am; I need to do a bit more of that myself. That doesn't mean I should accept poor behaviour and not challenge discrimination or injustice; it just means accepting that I cannot control every aspect of every one's lives. Well, at least until I've got that rule book printed and sent out...

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