An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. 

Expectations in relationships are normal. They give us the emotional excitement of anticipation, of prognostication, of what out future will hold once our expectation is met. Most times, in relationships, expectations are positive. No one enters into an intimate relationship with the expectation of things being horrible.

Expectations are centered in the future. This is problematic when in relationships. This is problematic because one's expectations may not be rooted in who others have revealed themselves to really be in the past. Expectations are not even based on who someone reveals themselves to be in the the present. 

This can happen 1 of 2 ways: either who I think someone is currently is a lie and disguise, as they attempt to put their best foot forward entering into relationship with me, or it is the result of me simply missing or ignoring who the person reveals themselves to be.

Many many of us enter into relationships with faulty views of ourselves. We have not been honest with ourselves about who we are, and therefore not only do we deceive ourselves, we deceive their other person as well. 

When the reality finally sets in, and the real people reveal themselves, some of the emotions we feel can be despair, anger, shock, and rejection.

Now you may say, "Why rejection?" We reject ourselves when we put the false face, or the best foot forward, in the hopes that we will secure someone better then ourselves, who will bring up up to a place better than ourselves. When we fail to maintain our false face, those we tried to impress may dislike our authentic self as much as we do. Thus they are angry, we feel rejected. Then, we reject ourselves for failure. Finally, reject those we tried to impress, for lack of compassion and forgiveness, as well as lack of ability to make us better. 

We have expected too much. Our expectations were based in the future, and the future is unknown, undiscovered, non-existent territory. Thus we hope is a myth, and when our myth is destroyed, so is our hope, our dreams, our worldview. All this, because we had expectations not based in reality but in the fantasy of "what if..." or "if only..."

 

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 Acceptance...

 ...a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit. The concept is close in meaning to 'acquiescence', derived from the Latin 'acquiēscere' (to find rest in).

This is very hard for many to do. My wife is always telling me I need to be present. I didn’t even know what that meant until I began to meditate on acceptance. I have always had the emotion reality of fighting: against abuse at a young age, against stigma, against perceived weakness, against poverty, against marital failure. When I finally accepted Jesus I expected myself to be perfect, and everyone around me as well. Imagine my horror when I proved my expectation wrong. The mind I had never allowed me to be present with who I was. I was always trying to become, never simply being. 

Being, acceptance, does not mean that I must agree with my problematic sides. It simply means that I accept myself as human. I am not Mr. Spock. Acceptance of others does not mean that you agree of condone they problematic sides. It means you accept them for who they are. If you enter into relationship with them, you do so knowing that what you see is what you get.

Acceptance deals with knowing. This means that acceptance cannot be rushed in relationships. Time to know someone is necessary. Even then you don’t know everything. So when challenges come up, issues we were unaware of, do these necessitate the break in relationship, since the expectation wasn’t met, and the entire reality wasn’t known? Are we doomed to stay in toxic relationships because we choose to accept others for who they are? No. It simply means that I have another chance to accept the entire person as they are. 

I accept that things happened to me when I was younger. I cannot change the people who did them. I can only accept that they did it. 

More importantly, I can accept that I am a person who hurts people. I can accept that I am a strong and strong-willed, opinionated, intelligent, thoughtful, quick tempered, spiritual and fallen, broken and hurt, loving and callous, gentle and harsh. I am not perfect. There are things in this list I would rather not see. However, rejecting myself, rejecting others, never produces the desired results. 

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 For the monkey and the bird to be in relationship 1) they have to accept they the other is not like them, and never will be, and 2) they must accept that they are not like the other. The monkey will never fly, or be white. The bird will never swing from trees, or be brown. Acceptance in healthy relationships says “I value being you, with your differences, more than I value being without you.” Acceptance in toxic relationships says, “I value you, and myself, enough to know that our differences mean that we should be separate.” 


I have a rule I am learning to follow: “Expect from people who they show you they are.”

Or I can say it like this: “Don’t expect from people what they have revealed they are incapable or unwilling of giving or being.”

In doing so, I am free to enter into relationships with people who are not like me, without my expectations being forced upon them, and their inability to live up to them forced upon me. They are free to be, as am I. 

Does this mean I will not be hurt? No. I choose to enter or remain in relationship, because I value them, not because of what they do for me. The relationship is free to simply be giving. If I see that they relationship is toxic or dangerous, I am free to leave or to stay. I am not bound by the bondage.

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