Expectations Equal Resentment
We’ve heard it before: expectations lead to disappointments.
If you expect nothing, whatever happens doesn’t affect you as much. At least, that’s the way I see it. Now, that does not mean I don’t expect—and by expect, I mean demand—certain things from people, such as respect; that’s non-negotiable. However, in general, I make every effort not to place expectations on people, especially when they didn’t sign up for my expectations.
But, I’m a work in progress.
Through watching interactions with other people and even reflecting on my own interactions with people, we tend to have preconceived notions of how things should happen or how people should react or behave in certain situations based on our own perceptions. If we believe that cheating is something that should never be forgiven or tolerated, when we see people stay in relationships after they’ve been cheated on, we’re disappointed because, by our beliefs, that’s automatic grounds for a breakup.
We make a habit of placing people in proverbial boxes and when they do anything out of the scope of the box they’ve involuntarily been put in, it becomes an issue for us. If we believe a good mate is someone who sends gifts spontaneously, wakes you up with breakfast in bed, or sends ‘Good morning, beautiful’ texts daily, the minute one or all of those things doesn’t happen, we’re disappointed. When we no longer receive love in the way we’ve expected to, or in the way we give love, it creates problems that, in actuality, may not be a real issue.
If you take nothing else from this, know and understand this: not everyone has the same heart as you.
The sooner you learn this, the better off you’ll be. I have spent so much energy and time waiting for people to give me what I gave them or to do for me what I did or would do for them, and I had to realize that it simply does not work that way. Your love will not be reciprocated to you the same way you gave it. Your kindness will not be reciprocated in the same way. Your mind and heart are not the same as everyone else’s and that’s what makes you you. Embrace that and take pride in that.
While having a conversation with someone, the topic of Love Languages came up, and if you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend taking the quiz and getting the book. It’s helpful whether you’re single or in a relationship. But, it occurred to me while having this conversation that many people are confused on what their love language actually means. Now, I am not an expert in love languages by any means, but I know a thing or two about a thing or two.
Reflecting on the conversation, I’ve gathered that whatever your primary love language is, that’s typically how you love others. So, for example, my primary love language is Words of Affirmations, which means I feel loved when people compliment me or express themselves to me through words. I’m a logophile to the core, so it makes sense that this is my primary love language, but, it’s also how I show love to others. I’m the woman who sends long text messages, writes letters, and wants the same in return because words are everything to me, and words coupled with actions is even better. However, this is where the disconnect occurs. Love is not selfish. It should never be about how it makes you feel or what you’re comfortable with. Instead, it should be about how the other person feels, but many of us drop the ball here.
Just because Words of Affirmations is my primary love language, it doesn’t mean it’ll be the same for my partner. So, if their primary love language is Physical Touch, and instead of providing them with physical touch, I’m giving them my words, though they may be beautiful, real, and heartfelt, it won’t be received nearly as well as me hugging them or cuddling with them. It is so important that we learn to show love to others in a way they understand and prefer. Reflecting on past relationships and situations, so many arguments and breakups could have been avoided by understanding this.
I still have to check myself when I become upset or mad because someone didn’t do something the way I expected them to or the way I would have done it. Yes, I try to avoid expectations, but I’m also human, so I fall short, often. People have apologized to me, but because it wasn’t done the way I would have done it, I wasn’t satisfied with it. People have loved me and cared about me, but because it wasn’t done in the way I would have done it, or I expected them to do it, it wasn’t good enough for me.
Don’t make those mistakes. We are all learning and growing, and for some people, they’ve never had to show love, be vulnerable, care for someone else, be a friend, or whatever the case may be. Understand that people will not always do things the way you want them to or the way you would do it, but it doesn’t make them wrong if they’re doing the best they can with what they have.
Expecting people to mirror your actions will lead to disappointment. As long as they’re trying, allow them to be human and make errors until they get it right. Be sensitive to these things, but don’t be naïve.