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The Question of Expectations in Relationships

I have been thinking about the question
of having expectations in relationships.

Have no expectations and you’ll never be disappointed

The typical “spiritual” thing to say is that
we should never have expectations of others.
If we do we will always be disapointed.

We cannot control what anyone else does,
so having expectations of them is fruitless.

Accept everyone as they are

There is also the idea that
having expectations of others is
not accepting them as they are.
It is trying to make them fit an
image of our own creation.
(Don’t try and change me!)

If you want to be in an
authentic relationship with someone,
be with them completely in the present moment.
Don’t expect anything of them
except for them to be exactly as they are.

I don’t really agree with that

It seems unrealistic and out of reach for us humans.

Having expectations in relationships makes sense

I think that any relationship I am in
I have certain expectations that make perfect sense.

In fact I believe it’s necessary in order
to have a healthy relationship.

I also think it’s important for people
to have certain expectations of me as well.

I want to be treated well

I have expectations to be treated
with a certain amount of respect, compassion and care.

Without this I will not be able to set healthy boundaries.
I will not know when I’ve had enough of
being treated less well then I deserve.
I may not be able to recognize signs of abuse.

Looking at it this way expectations can be
very useful in creating successful relationships.

Expectations have to be set and managed intelligently

The problem comes when:

1) The expectations are unreasonable or inappropriate.

2) We react badly when they’re not met.

Communication is key

In a good relationship I think these expectations
should be discussed,
mutually understood
and agreed upon.

The process of meeting them consistently requires
each person to work and change.
Therefore it also takes patience and understanding
as we undergo this process.

Forgiveness is a must

When they are not met it is important
for us to be forgiving and loving.

As long as both parties are committed
to treating each other well and
improving our ability to do so,
mistakes can be discussed, worked through and learned from.

Relationships are evolving entities
so the expectations will change
as we ourselves change.

This means constantly revisiting them
in an open and communicative way.

There are three basic areas of expectations:

1) Expectations I have of the other
2) Expectations they have of me
3) Expectations I have of myself

In each of my relationships these expectations
are different and I deal with them differently.

The expectations I have of my mechanic
are very different then the ones I have of my friends
which are also different from the ones
I have of my romantic partner.

As a martial arts teacher I certainly think
that my students should have
very high expectations of me
and I strive to meet them.

I have high expectations of myself

In order for all of this to work well
the most important ones are
the expectations I have of myself.

I think it’s good to have very
high expectations of oneself.
I like to strive towards an ideal of having
high integrity,
deep compassion
and unconditional love.

I must also treat myself with kindness and patience

The problem with this comes when
they’re accompanied by
impatience and self-condemnation.

When you can have high expectations and also a loving approach to acheiving them… then you’re on the right track!!

This will also help us to have high expectations
of the highest good from others,
but with love, patience, forgiveness and non-judgement.

Working together towards the highest good

This creates mutually supportive situation
where everyone involved is working towards
the highest good
for themselves,
the other and
the relationship.

N.B.
How this whole thing plays out in parenting is a topic for another blog post. Keep an eye out!

The Question of Expectations in Relationships

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