I release the expectations I place on others.
I seek to control only my own behaviour.
It is easy to become frustrated when others do not act in ways appropriate to my expectations. If I have expectations of consideration and I am ignored, I am likely to feel badly. If I have expectations of receiving a gift and none arrives, I am likely to be disappointed, hurt and frustrated. Whatever my expectations are, I must recognize that they are based on MY beliefs, feelings, previous experiences, moral, values, ethics, ideals, dreams and more. My expectations are a reflection of ME and to place them on another, especially if they haven’t been informed of them as a guideline that I’ve set for THEIR behaviour, is unfair and unjust. I can not control the behaviour of others. I can not force someone else to adhere to my expections. I can only, myself, act in congruence with my own expectations. If I expect courtesy, I must be courteous. If I expect kindness and respect, I must give kindness and respect. I will allow others to be and act in accordance with their own beliefs, feelings, morals, values, ideals, dreams and previous experiences. I will not allow myself to be mistreated but I will also not mistreat others by placing my guidelines for behaviour upon them. I always have the choice to disassociate with those whom I am not in rapport with. I can always choose my response, but it is not my place to choose another’s.
2 thoughts on “Letting Go of Expectations”
If I expect courtesy, I must be courteous, but isn’t this setting an expectation that if you act courteously than others should do the same in return? I don’t understand how this isn’t an expectation. I do appreciate your point about informing others of your expectations. I think this is particularly good advice for married couples. I wish I had done this 27 years ago.
You’re absolutely right! What I wrote and what I meant are not in harmony. I wrote: I can only, myself, act in congruence with my own expectations. If I expect courtesy, I must be courteous. If I expect kindness and respect, I must give kindness and respect. What I should have written was: I can only, myself, act in congruence with the desired behaviour I wish from others. If I desire courtesy, I must be courteous. If I desire kindness and respect, I must give kindness and respect. Does that make more sense now? And I agree… in relationships, particularly our most intimate ones, we so often fall into an expectation-disappointment-distancing pattern of behaviour.
PS… There’s always the next 27 years; it’s never too late 🙂