Melissa Ambrossini introduced me to the idea of ‘expectations ruin relationships’. To me, it really solidifies the need to look after yourself, and to take ownership of building yourself up. It’s too big of a job to rely solely on someone else or other people to do it for you.
Once upon a time, I relied wholeheartedly on myself to build myself up. I was my own person and consciously made decisions to do things that made myself feel good. Since then, I have met my beautiful Zac. He helped me to learn that it is a beautiful thing to have someone witness your life and to rely on someone else sometimes to fill you up. Particularly when you are running on empty, and don’t have the energy to do it yourself. The key is to find a balance.
We live in a quick fix world
I am as guilty as charged. When I want something, I tend to want it right now. And I am not alone. It’s easy to go for the quick fix of taking a panadol rather than listening to your body and having a day off, or limiting those delicious sugary treats you have been having.
The trouble is, we are inclined to put the ownership of ourselves onto someone else, because there is literally someone out there to do anything for you! Doctor make me healthy, personal trainer make me skinny, teacher make me smarter. But the doctor can’t force you to take his advice, the trainer can’t physically make you do a push up and your teacher can’t climb into your brain and make you retain information. That’s all on you, sister.
Our happiness is no different
Relationships can bring us so much joy. But have you ever started a new relationship and the person you have fallen in love with can do no wrong? Then, down the track, the same things you loved about them drive you mental?
It’s your state of mind. When you first met this person, you had little or no expectations of them. The more you get to know them and time you invest into the relationship, the easier expectations are formed.
For example, teenage girls love to tell each other secrets. And obviously, they have the expectation that the person they tell doesn’t tell anyone. But when this happens, the relationship encounters conflict because of the expectation that the person keeps the secret. Same thing if you would happily drive three hours to meet a girlfriend, but when they don’t do the same, it can hurt. We have these expectations on people, most of the time without realizing it. And this is what can ruin them.
The answer? Do things out of love and for you, rather than with expectations of anything in return
Tell your friend a secret because you want someone to talk to about it, or because you want to get it off your chest. Remove the expectation, and you won’t be as reactive when she tells the secret. Or travel to see your friend because you love them and that’s what makes you feel like a good friend and remove the expectation that they would do the same. Cook dinner without the expectation that your partner will do the dishes.
Just because it is something that you would do, you naturally and sub-consciously put this expectation on the other person.
This concept has been hard for me at times, especially because I am a generous person. It has taken me time to learn and practice self-awareness of the reasons why I can get upset or hurt by people. And it’s because of my own expectations. When I remove those and act in ways that make me feel good, then the expectation is removed and I can connect deeper to others.
When I feel myself get frustrated or annoyed at someone for any reason, I ask myself, what expectation did I have on them that has made me feel this way? Bring it back to you. It’s empowering.
Images via @mariapombo