It occurred to me in my morning meditation this morning that over the years, some of the struggle I was feeling with a few people in my life was because of expectations I had. I realized that I had expectations around how they would respond or act if they valued me the way they said they did. The things I’m talking about are very small things that seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
I used to skillfully stuff those feelings down, telling myself I ‘shouldn’t’ feel like that. “You’re being petty, you know better”, I would tell myself.
I’ve learned that any time the word ‘should’ comes up, there is something for me to look at. When I left those ‘shoulds’ packed down, they started to ooze poison, in the form of me making up stories about the situation. I could spin quite a tale before I knew it and that left me feeling bitter and resentful.
What I’ve come to understand is that I expected that others knew what I knew, and felt how I felt, thought like I thought. Does anyone else do that? When I say it out loud it doesn’t make sense because thank goodness, we all have different experiences, thoughts, and feelings. That’s what makes us unique.
I’m learning to replace ‘should’ with ‘acceptance’
Meeting people where they are is a way to accept things about yourself and others. It is a way to live in the present moment. It’s about putting down the expectations and stories and knowing that we are all doing the very best we can in the moment. We understand that our best will change depending on lots of things. Some days we have more to give, some days less.
Taking responsibility for my expectations is freeing. I am only responsible for my own actions and responses and leave others theirs. The holidays hold countless opportunities to practice, what do you think?
When we change the world changes.
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