My daughter said to me last evening, after hearing a little boy crying, "mummy, he's crying because his heart is sad and heavy." I stared at my daughter in disbelief as she spoke those words. In disbelief because although the statement wasn't directed at me, my heart was in fact sad and heavy. AND...what does an almost 6 year old know about a heart feeling heavy?? Wow.
My heart is sad and heavy....and while I won't go into details as to the why, the "why" got me thinking just about life in general, human nature, our society and more importantly the expectations we place on each other. The topic of expectations is such a big one that I already feel overwhelmed even writing about it.
We live in a world that is dictated by people. People telling you what to do, what to wear, what to buy, and how to act. Society as a whole encourages conformity for the obvious reason that it helps to control the masses. And of course that's what we need, right? But on the flip side it's sad that at a very early age we lose our individuality well before we have time to develop it! And sometimes do not find it again until we are much older, or sometimes not at all.
Initially we become what our parents teach us and raise us to be and then our teachers, other family members, our community and even our friends. We go through school for about 16 years of our lives (including college), then off to work, and then off to get married and then add some kids into the mix. Do we ever have the chance to become an individual and know exactly who we are and what it is we want? And no, I don't think 4 years in college is enough to get to know yourself! Does family and society itself dictate who and what we should be? Do we live our lives for others? Are expectations being placed on us without us even being aware of them? Not only by our loved ones but by society.
Expectations play a big role in our lives. It's a basic human trait that we learn very early on in life. Most of our expectations come from our own home and background. We have expectations not only of ourselves but of our loved ones, especially our spouses and immediate family members.
Are there expectations that go without saying? That are automatic? Do you think those expectations are fair? Should we place expectations on others? A friend said to me during a discussion yesterday that it's the unspoken expectations that hurt relationships. But even if they are communicated is it fair to the other person? Simple example, if your husband likes his clothes folded a certain way, and he expects it to be done that way, is that an expectation you the wife should take on? If you are the one folding the clothes? And then what happens is, the outcome will be, as to avoid future conflict, that the husband will just fold his clothes the way he likes it. But then the husband becomes a little bitter at the fact that he has to do it. No? What do you think? That's just a very simple example.
Do expectations from others stop you from being an individual? Are we putting pressure on our loved ones by placing our own expectations on them? Pressure to the point where people become unhappy, and unable to manage? I don't think we realize how expectations affect people and to what extent. It can be devastating and damaging to a person if they do not live up to a loved ones expectations. Just imagine if you removed whatever expectations you have on one another, wouldn't you both feel a sense of relief, wouldn't you feel a bit lighter? What do you think?
Expectations is an overwhelmingly big topic and I haven't even scrapped the top but I hope to continue this discussion and receive feedback from our readers.
I'll leave you with a few questions....Do you have expectations of yourself? What are your expectations? Are you able to live up them? Do you have expectations of your spouse or any other loved one? If so, what are they? Do you feel they are automatic and goes without saying? Are they realistic for him/her to live up to? Do you think they should have to live up? Do you feel you only have to live up to your own expectations? How do you find a solution when someone isn't living up to one of your expectations? How do you feel about it?
I open the floor for discussion....