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Release People Of Expectations, Let Them Be

Category: Loving Relationships

Release People Of Expectations, Let Them Be

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?

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Reader's Comments

  1. Cody DeHaan | August 26th, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Great post, Avani! Look for a post on my website about your post, soon! And keep up the great posts!
    .-= Cody DeHaan´s awesome post ..Expectations of Others =-.

    Reply to this comment
  2. J.D. Meier | August 26th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    > But giving advantage to strangers over people we love, I couldn’t understand.
    I like your precision. I think it’s a great reminder to master your world … from the inside out. Lift your family, friends, strangers, the world. It’s a firm and incremental foundation.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s awesome post ..6 Personality and Work Environment Types =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 26th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

      JD, I agree – mastering world inside out is the key. Which actually reminds me, we need to release perfection that we expect from ourselves as well.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Tess The Bold Life | August 26th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how wise you are at a young age.

    No one in this world is here to meet our expectations. This personally is a good reminder for me. Who do I think I am to think others are here to meet mine anyway. It’s very arrogant of me. I continue to keep this in check!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post ..Did You Know? =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 26th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

      Tess, thank you for the compliment. Wisdom and age have no connection.

      To let people be and live as they want to, is a constant reminder for me as well. It’s not right to judge, who am I to judge.

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Wildam | August 27th, 2009 at 2:31 am

        We “expect” ;-) it that there is a connection between wisdom and age – although it seems logically that there is one there is mostly none.

        BTW: We don’t know when the picture of Avani has been taken. ;-)
        .-= Martin Wildam´s awesome post ..Transferable know-how =-.

        Reply to this comment
        • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

          hahaha quite true. I could easily be a 90 yr old lady trying to pass as someone younger … who’s to know ? ;)

  4. Vered - Blogger for Hire | August 26th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    It’s very human to try and change others and mold them into what we want them to be. It takes a lot of self discipline to truly accept people as they are.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

      Vered, I agree with you completely. It takes self discipline and is a lot of work. But then, it’s the right thing to do. When people rise above their judgment and expectation and do the right thing for you, the experience is life changing.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Evelyn Lim | August 26th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    It is certainly true that we tend to have higher expectations of our loved ones. More recently, I try to put myself in their shoes and look at things from their perspective. I realize that they have exactly the same fears and hurts although expressed differently. Doing this helps me to lose my judgment and sense of wanting to “fix” them.
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s awesome post ..Create Powerfully In Pictures =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

      Evelyn, that’s really effective. To try to see where the other person is coming from and how he/she feels leads to deeper understanding and compassion.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Kaushik | beyond-karma.com | August 26th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Everyone manifests freshly in each moment. It works bet when we allow it. Great post, Avani!
    .-= Kaushik | beyond-karma.com´s awesome post ..Why we take a peculiar pleasure in suffering and how to stop =-.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Martin Wildam | August 27th, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Thank you, I like this article very much.

    > “People need love the most when they least deserve it.”

    Yes, this is the most difficult here and the opposite what most would do in their first reaction.

    Another reason – what probably can be added to the list – is, that we trust those we love and we rely on them – sometimes even depend on them. With external “less important” people we can be more patient easily.
    .-= Martin Wildam´s awesome post ..Transferable know-how =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      Martin, it’s great to see you after such a long time. Thank you for dropping by.

      > “People need love the most when they least deserve it.”
      - I agree this is very difficult. I still haven’t got a handle on this one. But whenever I have been able to stop myself from reacting and reach the other person with love, the results have been amazing. It’s as if the barrier of anger or hurt suddenly disappears – for both parties.

      We get hurt because we depend upon them, which is not the case with strangers – agreed. How can we keep the dependency but remove the hurt factor, I wonder. Is it just about understanding that people make mistakes, and letting it go? Or is there something more we can do?

      Reply to this comment
  8. Lance | August 27th, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Avani,
    What really is resonating with me right now is this concept of judging others. This is so easy to do, and it’s so unfair to the other person. There’s no way that we can know what it’s been like to have walked in their shoes, even for just the last last let, let alone a lifetime of bringing them to where they are today. How can we judge if we have no complete idea of what’s led up to this point? Yet we do. I know I do, too. Even when it means so much to me, not to do it. It’s so easy. And it’s something we really have to be conscious of…
    .-= Lance´s awesome post ..The Jungle of Food Choices =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Wildam | August 27th, 2009 at 6:22 am

      One reason for judging is, I guess, people’s need to categorize. The categorization is needed to help sorting out what is important (to you) and what not. But: It helps trying to categorize ideas/intentions/actions but not the person as a whole. And I think that is the mistake many mostly do (me included).
      .-= Martin Wildam´s awesome post ..Transferable know-how =-.

      Reply to this comment
      • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

        hmm .. that’s an interesting point Martin. We label people and then expect them to stick to the labels we give them. But people are more than labels.

        Reply to this comment
        • Martin Wildam | August 27th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

          Yes, in reality it is not the problem that we label people – it is a problem that we do so seldom change the labels.
          .-= Martin Wildam´s awesome post ..Transferable know-how =-.

    • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

      Lance, this is so true. We don’t know what the other person has gone through in their entire lifetime, then how can we judge them. I guess this really means that when we come across people who are full of anger or bitterness, or those whose values are completely different from ours, we still need to treat them in the right manner and give them love. They are who they are because of their experiences, we don’t know how would we turn out with their experience either.

      Reply to this comment
  9. jannie Funster | August 27th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    And I guess because we’ll never see strangers again we are polite to them, but family is around all the time to “get on our nerves.” I love what Vered says, it takes discipline.

    I am getting soooo good at being nicer and going with the flow of love and love, really discovering the true Yin-Yang nature of non-polarization and letting things be. Liara Covert has been a big guide for me for non-judgemental thinking.
    .-= jannie Funster´s awesome post ..Post-Vacation Contemplation =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 27th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

      hmmm sometimes I think we treat family poorly because we know they love us – they will tolerate us and forgive us anyway. We wouldn’t dare to make a stranger our punching bag (figuratively speaking), family on other hand … we know they will excuse us and understand.

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Wildam | August 27th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

        I must admit, that when I for instance treat my wife poorly, it is because I think that I am doing so much for her that it’s her duty to do this or that now for me. For strangers I do not expect that I see or do not see them again – who knows. In family you give and you also want to get…
        .-= Martin Wildam´s awesome post ..Transferable know-how =-.

        Reply to this comment
  10. Zeenat{Psotove Provocations} | August 28th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    HI Avani,
    I loved this post.
    It is often human nature isnt it…we take the ones closest to us for granted, till they actually go far away.
    Your points are very good..and will help immensely….the one i liked most…
    ◦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.
    I believe that all our relationships are infact mirrors of ourselves. If we dont like something about someone..its ifact the very same trait we have too…and if there is something we like about someone..its sopmething we want to have..or already have. So the next time we analyze our relationships…we should think of the other person as a mirror to our own personality….it helps us to become more compassionate to the other and more non judgmental. hence making our relationships more harmonious and us more understanding.
    .-= Zeenat{Psotove Provocations}´s awesome post ..As You Think =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | August 29th, 2009 at 1:16 am

      Zeenat, that’s a very good point. What we see in others is a reflection of us.

      I read something interesting a couple of days back – whatever you like/dislike/admire in other person, you have within you. Since only when you have something, you can recognize it in others.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work | August 29th, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Yes this is indeed a beautiful post and I look inside what happens when we really care about others. I’ve learned that expectations are deadly. When we meet them it’s as though they expected us to so no big deal. But when we don’t live up to them we disappoint. Expectations are no win situations. Life is much better with clear agreements.
    .-= Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s awesome post ..Ring The Authentic Bell And Win The Big Prize =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | September 1st, 2009 at 7:59 pm

      Tom, that reminded me of my childhood. I used to argue a lot about this – that if you don’t appreciate, you don’t get to criticize.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Jannie Funster | August 29th, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I have been reflecting on this more. And recall in Tolle’s book “The Power Of Now,” he mentions we tend to “pick at” our nearest and dearest, and always lose the honeymoon glow but REAL love steps in for the long-haul. Maybe we test our nearest and dearest and know they will still be there for us. So this is normal for humans.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s awesome post ..Yes, Kids Do Say The Darndest Things =-.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | September 1st, 2009 at 8:00 pm

      Jannie, that makes sense. We want to ensure we will be safe with others. Hence we test them little by little – just to be sure.

      Reply to this comment
  13. Argument 1 | August 30th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Now I never thought I will pull wikipedia but have a look read and think again, cause there are neither wrongs nor rights but the relative direction of life.

    In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen.

    In Emotion and Adaptation (Oxford University Press, 1991), Richard Lazarus asserts that people become accustomed to positive or negative life experiences which lead to favorable or unfavorable expectations with regard to present and near-future circumstances. Lazarus notes the widely accepted, philosophical principle that “happiness depends on the background psychological status of the person — that is, the overall pattern of expectations and existential mood — and cannot be well predicted without reference to” one’s expectations [emphasis added].
    Also with regard to happiness or unhappiness, Lazarus notes that “people whose objective conditions of life are those of hardship and deprivation often make a positive assessment of their well-being,” while “people who are objectively well off… often make a negative assessment of their well-being.” Lazarus argues that “the most sensible explanation of this apparent paradox is that people… develop favorable or unfavorable expectations” that guide such assessments.

    Should I objectively guide my expectations towards my friends,relatives and other beings.Even if not should I tame my mind to objectively think for expectations and divulge only what I disguise or perceive.

    To simply not expect is also splitting and keeping a thought to myself for me and hence I share.

    I share a laugh, a thought , a word , a poem and the light I see, I am not with comfort of certainty but a resolve that the same certainty of happiness will follow and take course and this randomness of expectation is also certainty.Just as my friends child never laughs as I clap twice but always laughs when I hold him high in the air and catch him he always laugh.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | September 1st, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      Argument 1, this is interesting. Basically means expect least to not get hurt and find bonuses everywhere.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Paul Maurice Martin | August 31st, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    “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.”

    I’ve also found this to be a major factor in how we can be hurt more by people close to us than others. Another factor is that people close to us can violate our trust more profoundly because we’ve placed more trust in them and have a history with them of that trust working out.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | September 1st, 2009 at 8:03 pm

      Paul, that’s true. We expect those who have kept our trust intact in past to do that in future as well. But past is no guarantee for future – either ways.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Dileep | September 3rd, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Great post and interesting comments..
    Unconditional love of our family, friends, neighbors and the whole world makes everyone’s life more peaceful and happy.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | September 3rd, 2009 at 6:56 pm

      Dileep, am glad you liked post and comments. I enjoyed conversing with everyone very much. Unconditional love is the key to peace and happiness isn’t it?

      Reply to this comment
  16. Prathosh | November 12th, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Hi Avani Mehta
    Good post
    But Few points to add.
    Expectation is By Product of Frusturation ..
    and Ego is another Big obstacle on anything.
    If these two are lessen,Relationship will Blossom and happiness
    will be there.

    Reply to this comment

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  1. [...] like to delve into a bit more. Avani Mehta has recently opened this discussion on her blog, with Release People of Expectations, Let Them Be. She makes the following point, which is something that makes sense once you read it, but that I [...]

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