We all have expectations of others which may or may not be fair or realistic. I remember when I was a kid, my mother would tell me stories about growing up in Italy. Her mother died when she was 15, and it felt like her entire world was destroyed. She told me that she looked out the window of their home and saw people walking around in the streets talking, laughing, and going to work. She remembered thinking in that moment, “How can they all be OK? My mother just died.”
That’s one of the problems we have with our expectations of other people. Everyone has their own lives, and we are very fortunate when they sacrifice some of their time and space for us. Of course, there are some basic things you should expect in any relationship, such as honesty and compassion. But counting on people to fill a void (such as one left by a parent) will only lead to a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Here are 5 things you should stop expecting from others:
Being perfect. No one is going to be perfect or always do the right thing. If that’s your expectation, you will always be disappointed. Instead of expecting perfection, you should expect quality of character. Is this person generally giving, loving, and kind?
Agreeing with everything you say. You can have strong thoughts, feelings, and opinions and still have a relationship with someone whose views differ.
Taking care of you. It is certainly a requirement of any friendship that you take care of each other in times of need, loss, pain, or disaster. But everybody has their limits and their own lives. Sometimes it’s good to say, “I’m concerned that I’m becoming a burden. If you need me to back off and toughen up a bit, let me know.” It’s all about communication.
Acting the same way you would. Just because you treat people a certain way doesn’t mean you can expect them to treat you that way. Everybody isn’t like you. You have to be flexible.
Investing a lot in you when you don’t invest in yourself. At some point, you are going to realize that God helps those who help themselves. People recognize that they are wasting their time being helpful and supportive if you’re not putting in the effort.
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