I have a confession to make: I have this bad habit of putting high expectations on certain people in my life. When we place high expectations on people and they don’t measure up, we get disappointed, angry, and sad—among other things. Personally, I find myself doing this over and over again. Frankly, I am tired of it. I need to break this viscous cycle. Now, I am sure you are asking yourself: what exactly does she mean by this? Well, I expect certain people in life to act a certain way and when they don’t, I get aggravated and frustrated and upset. It’s really not healthy!
I think my main problem is that I don’t see my expectations as being high. On the contrary, to me, they are reasonable. In every area of life – personal and professional - everyone should follow the Golden Rule. And, in a professional setting, people should treat each other with respect, as adults. It seems pretty simple to me.
But, my husband often reminds me that everyone, no matter what his or her position or status in life, is just a person. It’s doing them an injustice to think of them as anything other than a human being. And, as we all know, humans make mistakes. No one is superhuman and no one is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses; we all have our good points and our bad. That is just the way God made us. Plus, we are all emotional beings. And, let’s admit it, we can often let our emotions get the best of us. This is especially true when we are mad.
It really isn’t fair to think that just because someone happens to be the CEO of a company that they make no mistakes and make all the right decisions and do all the right things. (Because while they may do the right things and say the right things some of the time, they can’t do any of the right things all the time. It is impossible. This is what makes us human. We make mistakes. We sin. It is what got Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden.)
So, how did I get here? How did I turn into someone who is repeatedly disappointed with certain people in my life?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering how I got to this place. I also feel like I am not alone in my disappointment of people. I believe it starts when we are children. As kids, we look up to our parents and they are responsible for teaching us right from wrong. As our caregivers, we automatically look up to them and set them on these high pedestals. In our eyes they could do no wrong. I mean, honestly, as a kid, didn’t you look up to your mom and dad, and expect them to do the right thing? We probably didn’t even recognize it at the time, but they set the example. If they were good parents, they taught us to respect our elders, to be weary of strangers, and that we could always trust a policeman or fireman if we were in trouble and they were not around.
My parents also took me to church each week, where I learned something that I feel is invaluable: the Golden Rule. You should always treat others the way you want to be treated.
So, in turn, as we grew older, we thought that people older than us, people in positions of power, were basically good people and could do no wrong. (At least, I did.) These included our teachers, our school bus drivers, the grocer, the crossing guard; basically anyone who was an adult.
If you are like me, then when you became an adult yourself, you held onto these indoctrinated notions that certain adults should act a certain way. And, if you are also like me, you were sorely disappointed when those people did or said things that you didn’t expect or like.
Sooner or later reality life hits you in the face and your eyes are widely opened to the fact that not everyone is who you think they are. (Or, who they say they are, or even who they think they are for that matter. Most notable for me lately, are our politicians. And, I can’t even begin to go down that road right now.)
So, how can I stop being disappointed in people? I have been reading some great online articles and taking to heart what my husband has told me, and I have come to two conclusions:
These are much easier said than done for me. I feel like I need to re-train my brain; re-wire my way of thinking. And, after living 40+ years and having expectations of certain people, this will not be easy. But, I am going to give it my best shot, as I can’t keep living the way I currently am. I am tired of being disappointed.
I look back now and realize what impossibly high standards I had for some people. It isn’t fair to do that to them. I expected them to perfect, to always do and say the right things. Or, to do what they say. It isn’t fair to make them, or anyone, shoulder such responsibilities. Plus, it isn’t fair to continue to set myself up for disappointment either.
Here are some great articles you can read to get you started. These will help you re-direct your thoughts and learn to manage your expectations:
What do you have to say? What are you thoughts? Surely, I can’t be alone in this. I would love to hear what you think!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.