Monday, August 6, 2012

What Do You Expect?

I’ve always been a “hard” kind of girl.  Work hard, play hard, love hard, fall hard…. (I’m sure you get the picture).  Things are often black or white in my world and grey has never been a hue that I’ve favoured.  The bar was set high for me to do things since I was born and the interesting part is that it was me that set the bar, not my parents.  I decided when I was ready to forgo diapers and I contributed to shameful amounts of paper waste while learning how to write my ABC’s to perfection.  I have always expected a lot from myself and that has evolved into a high expectation from other people.  My good intention for the betterment of mankind has become one of my biggest shortcomings which is why I’m trading in my expectations for a little more self-reliance and compassion.
“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations”
– Elliott Larson
When there are a lot of balls in the air and your hands are too full to juggle them, you’re presented with two choices: 

1) Delegate some juggling to someone that you trust or
2) Let the balls come crashing to the ground and deal with them later.

I think that the majority of us would be inclined to choose option number one but please take note if you are a Type-A personality such as me.  You can’t expect that people you delegate to will get the job done the same way that you would.  There’s no way that they can possibly replicate your brand of magic. They are not you and expecting them to be is just setting everyone up for failure.  This is one of the lessons that I’m learning lately because I’ve been a hot ball of anger for the past few days.  My desire to get everything done and please the masses (while admirable) has taken a toll on my resiliency and otherwise pleasant disposition.  I urgently needed to figure out what was going on, so I decided to reach out.

During a long discussion with one of my sisters, I was advised to let go of what I expect.  Her wisdom echoed that of Dennis Wholey who once said,

Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” 

In other words, it doesn’t make much sense. Now I’m sure that there are exceptions to every rule (including this one) but in my case they were both right.  People are often trying to do the best they can with what they know and showing a little understanding to what you perceive as inadequacy can go a long way.

Our conversation forced me to review my current standards and the people that I expect things from.  A few emotional outbursts and countless tissues later, I’m beginning to see things a bit more clearly. When you’re tired or overwhelmed it’s sometimes easier to expect things from people.  It’s like opting to order takeout after a long day instead of cooking dinner. The catch is that you have to be open to what’s going to be delivered to your door.

If you’re anything like me, this can be a bit risky.  As a result, it might be best for you to just take a break, rejuvenate and get your butt in the kitchen.  If you think that you can do things better on your own, by all means do so – just don’t forget to thank the people that offer to help.

“When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have”
– Stephen Hawking

I’m a creator of many things and it is my sincerest hope that I’ll become more mindful of when I am creating expectations.  I won’t beat myself up for initially having them but I will take a closer look at why they’ve been made.  Odds are after doing so; I’ll have to let them go.

Ahhhh… sweet freedom.

Until next time, friends….

1 comment:

  1. “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” - Epic quote - love it Rosie! xox ~Mel