I recently have been bombarded with this idea of Expectations. The word just sounds complicated, doesn't it?
It seems so easy for me to expect something so magnificent out of people, more especially, the ones that I hold closest to my heart. But here's the funny thing: I never thought that I expected that much out of people. Yet, through many recent encounters and conversations with others, I have found that I do expect something in fact, MAGNIFICENT, from people. Because I expect people to be a loyal friend 100 percent of the time. I expect people to drop anything when I am in need. I expect family and friends to listen to my insight, my instincts, my thoughts, and take them into consideration. Here's the catch though: they rarely do. We are humans. And no matter how much we try, we will always let each other down. People cannot do those things all of the time. We are not perfect. So why do I expect them to be?
With a lot of my relationships, I tend to end up feeling hurt, betrayed, and lonely. Why? Because I feel like I would do those specific things for the ones that I love wholeheartedly. And those feelings rarely feel reciprocated.
My "family psychologist..." Actually you know what, let's just be frank: my therapist. Yep. I said it. That scary person; that scary thought. You can call it what you want...they all ultimately do the same thing, though: Help you to recognize your issues, help you realize WHY you have those issues or why you feel that way that you do. Then, they help you with coping mechanisms to fix those problems that somehow we subconsciously cannot figure out on our own. I truly believe every body should see a therapist at least once in their life. I can't even tell you how many realizations I have had while sitting there talking. There is something about speaking out loud to a third party that has absolutely no say in the particular matter (She's the Man. Quote it!) ...but that is a whole other blog post.
Anyway, With all of my jumbled thoughts and emotions, an epiphany occurred (while in that title-that-must-not-be named (therapist) office). My expectations that I have for those people only allows me to realize what I NEED to work on. Just because they don't live up to my expectations, doesn't mean that they are bad people or bad friends. We each have our own expectations of others. And I need to realize that those expectations may not always be met by others, but I can meet them in my own life. Putting friends and family first over a silly boy. Putting school in front of a mundane activity. Being loyal when push comes to shove--Those are things that I can work on...who cares if others do not?
I recently read a story about how the Savior is our gardener. He cuts us down in order to replenish our nutrients, to ultimately allow us to keep growing larger. But sometimes, when the Lord cuts us down, we plead:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. How could you do this to me?"
Yet, If we sincerely desire and strive to measure up to the high expectations of our Heavenly Father, He will ensure that we receive all the help we need, whether it be comforting, strengthening, or chastening." We won't need to ask why. The growth that will come later will be quite apparent because of his EXPECTATIONS for us.
It's a funny thing about trying to become more like Christ. He has expectations for us because he KNOWS we are capable of doing certain things. He allows us to face these trials, to sit on the floor sobbing, to get our feelings hurt because he EXPECTS us to turn to him and ultimately grow. How amazing that my intrinsic ability to have high expectations of others is something that the Savior does for us. He sets the bar high, because He knows we are able to jump over it with a little practice. I put the bar up for my friends and family to jump, because I, myself, my silly mortal self, knows they are able to jump.
I expect these basic needs(magnificent or not--to each his own) to be met from friends because I love them. Because I want them to succeed. Because I want our relationship to strengthen. I subconsciously set these expectations because I, as well, need to learn something.
Also, I need to lower my expectations of other people. I know that sounds terrible. But people's behaviors are not going to change just because I want them to. I cannot change my best friends' decisions. I cannot make my parents automatically change the way they function this late in the game. What I need to do is allow them to be who they are. Encourage them and be their advocate, but don't necessarily be their cheerleader along the way.
I care too much. It's a blessing, but currently it has been a curse. Caring just means that I love enormously. And I do. But this high level of caring correlates with my high level of expectations of other people. People will always let you down. I don't mean to be negative, but it's the truth. Our expectations of one another sometimes are idealistic (at least mine are) and unrealistic. But understanding that when those expectations aren't meant, it does not mean they are intentionally hurting you. You love them for who they are. You allow them to grow on their own.
Because that's what the Savior does. Think of how many times we have let HIM down. He has all these wonderful things for us, and we are constantly doing dumb, immoral things. Does this mean He loves us any less? Of course not. It just means that he is going to pick us up off the ground, slap us across the face (eh maybe not slap ha) and send us on our way; only better and stronger this time.
Because HIS expectations are perfect. We are not. And we cannot expect others' behaviors to be either.