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Dealing With Unmet Expectations

“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations”  Elliot Larson
Have you ever wondered why people actually fight?
It is an interesting reality of life that happens in all aspects of our relationships with others right from sibling fights, friends, workmates and spouses. And yet in spite the frequency of this reality, we seem to never get used to it or comfortable with its reality.
Last weekend I had one of those fights with a friend of mine and I must say it totally took me by surprise because I did not see it coming. I thought we were having girl talk when all over a sudden like an unannounced storm it dawned on me that we were on two different wave lengths. I thought we were on the same page but lo and behold we had disconnected at some point without noticing. This led to a slight exchange because we both felt misunderstood.
I suspect this is the cause of most conflict in relationships: one person does something or doesn’t do something, and the other makes assumptions about what it means.
I have done it many times before—assumed the worst in someone I love because they didn’t do what I would do. But this rationale fails to consider that other people have different ways of doing things, and they have no idea what meanings we’ll assign when they choose to do things their way. They also can’t know precisely what we expect unless we express it.
I think we all have those people in our lives that we simply expect more from.  That’s normal.  That’s life.
But what do you do when you don’t get what you expect?
You can’t control other people’s actions, just your own reactions to them.
You can’t control them, just as you can’t be controlled by them.  Sure, you may feel a certain way if they do something that affects you, but when it comes down to it, you control that reaction. When we lower our expectations of those in our lives and eliminate our sense of entitlement, we may find ourselves more surprised and delighted at the actions others take due to our lack of expectations.
The way you interact with people, however, will determine the ease of passage through life.  Act from kindness and love, and you’ll get the same back.  If not from the sources you originally got them from, then from others.
We have a right to communicate when we feel hurt or offended, but maybe love is learning to be hurt and offended less often. The people we care about are generally doing their best—love is recognizing that instead of assuming the worst.

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