"Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations" Leo Buscaglia

I wonder if I expect too much of others. In some ways I also question if my expectations are too close to the bare minimum. There doesn't quite seem to be a middle ground of compromise balancing my internal expectations and my external pronouncements. I get frustrated when I behave in certain ways - going above and beyond for others, being present and supportive, showing up, etc. - and don't receive reciprocated energy, effort, or time. The real person to blame though is me for never getting explicit in saying what I need, what I want, and what I'm looking for. Other people cannot read my mind, and I don't get to be petty, hold grudges, or write people off because they couldn't telepathically psychoanalyze me. I'm learning that I cannot be disappointed when people fail me because I never communicated what it would take for them to succeed. How can I be surprised when people falter if I never empowered them with what they needed to be perform? I have to say what I require and hope that others are willing, able, and equipped to meet or surpass those expectations. It's then and only then that accountability comes in to play. 

Expecting others to be like you is dangerously narcissistic. Measuring others against the standard of yourself means they will never quite be up to snuff. I cannot blame people for railing against a paradigm that was never intended for them to live up to. I'm not perfect but why then do I demand near imperfection from others around me? Why am I so unforgiving with others when I can rationalize that I must be kind to myself? Where is the cognitive dissonance between my understanding of individuality and an incessant yearning to embraced with the same energy that I share with others? Something does't quite add up. I don't want a clone of myself. I'm not the ideal person. I think sometimes I get caught up who I imagine people to be instead of coming to terms with who they actually are. I know that there are moments and people where I understand I am infatuated with the idea of a person instead of who that person truly is. My ability to project who I make-believe others to be distorts who they really are, for better, and worse. When we only look for the best in people, we miss out on the rest of them. 

My expectations need to be more reasonable, not lowered. It's not outrageous to want people to value, honor, and celebrate you the ways that you do for them. It's not outside the realm of possibility to have your energy or effort matched. It is not asking too much to request time and thought be put into others' interactions with you. It is how those things are communicated that makes all the difference. What stops me from telling people what I need from them? Am I worried I'll be viewed as too stringent, melodramatic, or needy? If people value me in the ways I value them then there's nothing to be afraid of, and they will be open to receiving the feedback that is intended to strengthen relationships, and if they are severed in the process, well then I have definitive proof that the bond was not nearly as significant as I thought it to be. Either way the outcome is productive. 

It is important to be genuine in asking what you need from others. It has to be put out of our heads that making requests, expressing our feelings, and sharing our needs are superfluous but rather integral to taking up the space that we deserve. If we are unable to convey what we want and need from the people in our lives, then we will live consistently frustrated that we are being underserved. We have to advocate for ourselves. We have to articulate our thoughts. We have to make it known what we need. Nobody knows unless we tell them. We have to speak our truths, boldly, unapologetically, and consistently. We matter, AND we have enough respect for ourselves to communicate that to everyone around us. 

When people say that I should lower my expectations I respond with a question of if they think I deserve anything less than what I'm putting out. The answer is knowing your worth, the value you bring, and what makes you special - that means that no one can convince you to accept anything less than you in all your glory deserve. It is knowing who you are, what you bring to the table, and what your significance is that allows you to deny all the paltry attempts at appeasing you. Why accept crumbs when you deserve a seat at the table? Why settle for less when you give more? Why be unsatisfied when you can be satiated? People want you know your place but your place is where you determine it to be. 

Expectations should not be lowered lest we settle for disappointment. People should rise to meet our expectations. Expectations should challenge us to be better, try harder, and go further. Complacency breeds stagnancy, and in our constantly changing world - those who stay the same get left behind. Always moving forward, striving to be better, and carve out our little corner of the universe - that's a reasonable expectation. If others are unwilling or unable to meet our expectations we should not be afraid to let them go. Holding on to people who are incapable of providing what we need deprives us of the opportunity for better. Sometimes people aren't quite we need them to be, and that's okay, but we can't find those that we're looking for if we're preoccupied in trying to force others into a mold not meant for them. Expectations are something we develop for ourselves, and for those we are in relationship with. X


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