It is said that people we love most have the capacity to hurt us most. I used to wonder why is this the case. And why is it that sometimes we can forgive strangers easily but not people we love? Why is it that a hurtful event which we can forget and let go off when with a stranger can ruin a perfectly good relationship/moment and fill it with bitterness when with someone we love?
Why are things this way? Two different set of behavior/expectation for strangers and people we love, I could still understand. But giving advantage to strangers over people we love, I couldn’t understand. I thought things should be the other way round. We should be even more forgiving and understanding with those who are close to us.
As I kept mulling over these thoughts and observed relationships in general, a pattern started to emerge & I found my answer -
When we love someone and respect that person a lot, we start thinking highly of them. We create this image of them in our minds which is just perfect.
‘My son will never do this’, ‘My daughter always does that’, ‘Our relationship is perfect – we completely understand each other’, ‘My parents love me unconditionally’, ‘My guru has perfected the art of detachment’ – these are just a few examples of that.
When these people whom we think of so highly and for whom we have created this perfect image, do something to knock down the image, everything shakes up.
When people break out of our mold for them and do something which doesn’t conform to our image of who they are, we get angry and hurt. Not because of their actions – which could be trivial but because they broke their promise of who they are – and this we cannot accept.
To release expectations and undo images we create in our mind is a life long activity – till we master not setting any expectations at all. Here are a few reminders which help me to let go of expectations and be in a place of compassion when people do things which they aren’t supposed to do (according to us) -
- People need love the most when they least deserve it.
- The ones we love are bound to make mistakes, just like we are.
- Let people be human.
- No one in this world is here to meet our expectations.
- No one ‘needs’ to be in any other way than he/she is. Need is your expectation projected on the person. It’s your problem, not his/hers.
- Love means forgiving people when they make mistakes.
- People are going to change. It’s part of their journey of life.
- Don’t judge.
I am sure you too must come across scenarios where people don’t stick to their image and break expectations. What do you do in times like these?