Over the last few years, I have had a slow-growing epiphany of sorts. As I observe folks around me and watch relationships of all varieties either flourish or struggle, there is one key word that keeps rearing its occasionally ugly head.
Hence the title…
Rather than point it out in other folks’ relationships (though it might be entertaining), I will make it personal.
It has dawned on me that every time someone disappoints me, it’s because I put an EXPECTATION on them. Fair or unfair.
Maybe they promised something that led me to expect a result.
Maybe I just wanted something and figured they were the ones to provide it.
Say I have a headache. I say, out loud, “Gosh! My head hurts!” My hope is that my husband hears me and thinks to himself, “Oh, my sweet wife is in pain! I must do something to help her!” And then he runs as fast as he can in his super-hero cape to rub my neck, and make me sit down somewhere with my feet up to rest until I feel better.
Is it gonna happen? Well……maybe. But really, maybe not.
The problem comes in when he is too distracted by something silly like say, his JOB, to hear my need and he doesn’t come running. Then, I may feel sorry for myself thinking, “Gee, if he was in pain, I would help HIM. He sure isn’t very attentive to my needs. Poor me.”
How many times has someone disappointed me? How many times did it have to do with an expectation I had in my mind that they didn’t even know?
My husband, bless his heart, just does things differently than I do. He brings me coffee just the way I like it. He helps with the dinner dishes because I cooked. He runs me a lovely bath when I’m sore and tired.
But, there are times I expect him to know things that I’m thinking or expecting or DO things the way I would do them, and it’s really not fair. He is, after all, not me.
Once upon a time, the Kirksey family was somewhere in the US of A in an RV in a campground in the mountains, and I might have been dying from food poisoning. Well, it felt like dying. And the kids might have been afraid I was dying. I was in PAIN!! We drove in a rental car for about 90 excruciating minutes back from the restaurant where Queen Stomach (as she likes to be called) began her tirade to our little portable home so I could lie down, all the way I’m moaning and groaning and scaring my family.
Darn that delicious chicken piccata!!
We arrive at our home on wheels and I literally CRAWL up the steps into the RV to collapse on the couch. The kids are nearby and the girls are in tears and they are starting to get angry with their dad. He was not nearby. He was in the back of the motor home blowing up an air mattress for me to lie down on. He wasn’t holding my hand or rubbing my back or doing the things girls like when they’re sick (or dying). The kids held the bag for me as I vomited profusely and my son, bless his heart) took the bag out to the garbage (where he threw up).
All the while daddy is getting the bed ready.
A fight ensued. The kids couldn’t, for the life of them, understand why he wouldn’t fix me. He insisted he was doing exactly what I needed him to do because I would want my bed.
After 20-some years with this man, I didn’t really expect him to wipe my feverish brow. And honestly, I knew my girls would. He would find ways to serve me that seemed logical to him and then get the job done.
By the way, I survived, barely, but I will never visit that particular restaurant again as long as I live.
I’m thinking that most times someone hurts me it’s because I expected them to feel like I would, react like I would, do what I would do, say what I would say, or read my mind about what I want and then act on it.
Not quite fair, is it?
When I was a kid my sister and I would frequently say to each other, “Myob!” It meant mind your own business.
It’s kind of a neat idea.
Because maybe if I did me and you did you the very best that we could and quit looking around at how everyone fails us, the world might be a little more productive, and I might be a little nicer to be around.
How about you?