Monday, June 13, 2011

JUNE JOURNEY: My Expectations are Showing...

Before we move into another aspect of dealing with expectations, I thought it might be helpful to identify some. I've made up a partial list. Have you ever wanted to say one of these to someone else (a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a client, a church member, a neighbor, you name it!)?

I Expect You To:
·               Desire to grow and progress as an individual
·               Have a code of ethics—integrity
·               Put God and others before self when it comes to priorities
·               Be honest with me
·               Work hard—not try to get by with as little as possible
·               Ask permission first, not assume you will merely ask for forgiveness later
·               Care about what’s important to me, even if it’s not important to you
·               Not just hear me, but truly listen
·               Nurture me
·               Affirm me with your words and your actions
·               Give me the benefit of the doubt
·               Treat me as you wish to be treated
·               Communicate truth rather than what you think I want to hear
·               (Well, that, and just plain COMMUNICATE!)
·               Realize I have work hours and play hours, my life isn’t just a hobby
·               Know how to give me service if you call yourself “customer service”
·               Know that poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on my part

Add your own expectations in the human race in the comments section below. When is it wrong to have expectations? Is it ever right?


Joy Weese Moll said...

I expect you to:
-not assume I buy into your agenda even if I'm willing to politely listen
-politely listen to my agenda even if it doesn't mesh with yours
-be willing to find places of mutual agreement
-sometimes take the initiative to keep our relationship going and not always depend on me to do it
-not put a guilt trip on me if I don't take the initiative and our relationship suffers because you didn't either
-ask for what you want and not expect me to read your mind

When is it wrong to have expectations? Is it ever right?
I guess I'm wondering how much choice we have here. Is it possible to wipe our minds of expectations entirely? And, sometimes, having positive expectations going into a situation helps -- sometimes people behave the way I expect them to behave in part because of that expectation. Maybe the trick is to have positive expectations but to hold them lightly, let one float away if it didn't work out and try a new positive expectation that floats by to see if it improves the situation.

Kathy Carlton Willis said...

Joy, I'm learning a lot by this daily exercise. I think there will always be a certain amount of expectations in life. If we invest in something, whether our emotions, our time, our talent, or our funds, we expect something back for it.

I think we can still offer unconditional love (meaning we don't withhold love just because we have unmet expectations) but still have expectations in place that end up improving our relationships more because we connect more. Not necessarily because we think the same, but because we respect each other enough to give the basic life affirmations.

One reason I've learned to reduce my expectations, isn't to let the OTHER person off the hook, it's to help ME not get so frustrated, which easily leads to bitterness.

Sometimes, it's a matter of swapping out expectations. Telling myself, since they do not have the capacity to *fill-in-the-blank, then instead, I will hope for *fill-in-the-blank. For example, if someone doesn't have the heart or mindset to nurture me, maybe it's not because they don't love me, it's just a foreign concept to them. So I remove that expectation and replace it with something this person is capable of, such as sharing a common interest or enjoying pleasurable "in-the-moment" times together. Just don't expect them to take the initiative to touch base "just because!"

More of what I'm learning in coming days. This has been an eye-opening exercise in learning more about me and others and the God who sets us free.

I'm definitely not there yet!

Carin LeRoy said...

I've enjoyed reading the postings the last week or so. When are expectations right? I think it's okay for parents to have reasonable and attainable expectations for their children. Otherwise, how would we help them to learn to be responsible adults? I expect my children to tell me the truth, to respect their teachers, to complete their homework, etc. So not all expectations are wrong. I don't think it's wrong to expect people to act with common courtesy, rather than rudeness, to be moral and decent, etc. Much the same way that God has expectations for us to live a holy life and commands that He expects us to follow.

Interpersonal relationships can be very tricky as we deal with others who think, act and believe differently than we might. Others may have a different value system than we do. All of these things can cause expectations to go unmet. Thanks for your thoughts on this subject!

Kathy Carlton Willis said...

Carin, thanks for your input on this, and I'm looking forward to your guest blogger article on the site later this month. I've made a few more observations just today, but I'll wait and add them to another post. Be on the look out!

Thanks to Joy and Carin and the others who are sharing insights to help me shape the way I look at expectations!