Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Letting go of expectations about how others will behave

There have been a number of situations I have encountered over the last few months where I found myself quite surprised about how people I know have behaved in certain situations.  In response to this I have been thinking about both how to respond in those situations (out loud and in my head) as well as how to have fewer expectations of others based on thinking that I know how they will act.

For the responses I've been trying out include "wow" or "that could be" as well as "hmmmm" and some other non-responsive responses.  When I actually want to engage and offer support it has been "I'm so sorry that x happened to you", "how can I help" or "is there anything I can do".  The conversations in my head are quite different and the effort there is to remind myself that I have no control over what others do (and sometimes no influence either), that people are doing the best that they can at each moment, and that it pays to be kind because none of us truly knows what burdens another carries.

Letting go of expectations is a bit harder for me as it may be for others.  I think I know how people I have known a long time will respond or how a reasonable person will respond to a given situation.  And yet I am continually surprised!  This seems like it will be an ongoing learning process as the variations available from different people seems to be endless - and endlessly interesting.


4 comments:

  1. A very thoughtful post - not always easy to respond as we would wish 'in the moment', but it sounds like you are on the path xx

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  2. I very often feel like that about commenting on a post, I may want to say so much about how much the post meant to me, what I got from it, how it's going to change things for me. But I very often just end up by saying " well done "

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  3. Great post, I too try to be kind and supportive but I am afraid my eyes give it away, sunglasses are a blessing!!

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  4. Thank you for your kind responses. I've been thinking about this more since I wrote it and realized I get busy thinking about how "out of character" the behavior is or start trying to "fix the problem" and as a result don't respond as helpfully as perhaps I could. I'm going to keep working on this as part of my Be Kind happiness commandment.

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