by: Patricia Ribeiro
In the same way that you shouldn’t judge yourself based on anyone else, it is also unfair to judge others based on your own expectations.
Anticipation of a certain outcome or behavior can easily lead to disappointment, especially if it involves other people, mother nature or things we can not control. It is important to have expectations of yourself but it is not fair to place those same demands on anyone else.
Everyone is different. People have diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, family values and moral compasses. What we may see as inappropriate may be standard cultural behavior for someone else. It is not up to us to judge. Our only responsibilities are to conduct ourselves in a manner we are comfortable with and ensure that our family is not being hurt by anyone’s poor choices. Other than that, we should not impose our expectations onto other people. Everyone has their own limitations and if we love them and choose to keep them in our lives we must accept them for who they are unconditionally. If there is someone who repeatedly disappoints you, take a step back and ask yourself if you are transferring your own agenda to this person. Do not assume they are even aware that they are offending you. Explain to them that your feelings are hurt and tell them how you hoped they would behave. You should be clear about what actions are important to you. If you have communicated with them and nothing changes then you must to decide how to proceed. If it is simply a matter of them handling circumstances differently than you, keep in mind that it is their choice to conduct themselves as they see fit and if you choose to continue interacting with them you must accept them without reservation.
If the transgression is unacceptable in that they are physically, emotionally or psychologically abusive, then you must remove yourself or your family from having any exposure to this person. This will not be easy. If it is your spouse, a parent or child you may need to enlist the help of a professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Anyone else needs to be cut off from your life immediately. Never allow anyone to bully or abuse you in anyway. If you are a parent, it is imperative that your children understand not to tolerate this behavior. Not only will they see that you have self respect, but it is a valuable lesson in self preservation!
Outside of those drastic circumstances, there are plenty of everyday examples of people who do not live up to your expectations and you must decide how to deal with them. You may have a friend who only calls when they need something. They do not call to see how you are doing or to say hello. Whenever they do call it is to ask for a favor or to unload the latest drama. If you are looking to have a reciprocal relationship with this person, you are going to be disappointed. However, you may enjoy their crazy stories and find that once in while it’s nice to focus on someone else. If you decide that you still want to continue this friendship than you must accept them for who they are and all that entails. If not, you should be open about how you feel and give them the opportunity to make amends. Your friend may not have realized how they were hurting you. They may have assumed that you would call when you need them and tell your own stories without any prompting. You would be surprised what is revealed in a sincere conversation about your expectations. Your real friends care about you and will do what is necessary to make the friendship work. Anyone who is unwilling to have an honest conversation about your relationship is probably not the type of friend you want in your life.
Once again, do not accept abuse of any kind from anyone. That is not the same as having high expectations, that is having self respect. Aside from that, do not hold your friends and family to your standards. People have their own reasons for behaving in certain ways and if you choose to associate with them then you need to respect their choices and ask that they do the same for you.
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