This not directed at any particular person or situation, but is a general observation of my life, things I’m realizing, and things I need to change for my sake.
Unspoken Expectations. They trip so many people up. I am the victim of them, I have been the perpretrator of them. I *am* the perpetrator of them.
When someone has expectations of someone else (and we all do, admit it), they are inevitably, at some point, going to get let down. Because people are human and they’re going to screw up. That’s just how we are. Everyone has a threshold of how much disappointment they can take, how many times they will forgive before letting go and moving on. Some people may just hold the hurt in, letting the resentment build before something small sets them off. < --I'm guilty of that one! Others have this amazing ability to let everything roll off of their backs because they have expect so little of others. And some get hurt very, very deeply by the smallest things because their expectations are so high. <--Guilty of that one too. I'm trying to find the happy medium between the "no expectations" thing and the "way too high expectations" thing. I'm tired of being hurt over things that are probably not big deals and definitely no one's intention to be rude or disrespectful. I probably don't have a right to expect anything from anyone if I don't communicate things to those people. I do get hurt every single time, though, and I know it's only my fault. Unfortunately, a lot of damage has been done and I'm quite used to being let down. That doesn't mean it hurts any less, even when I know it's my fault. But I'm used to it, yes. I've heard too much silence in the midst of my crying out too many times not to be used to it. It's really surprising to me when someone goes the extra mile for me--it's really great and I am eternally grateful. Even when someone goes an inch for me. The smallest things can cheer me up. A stranger holding a door for me, a smile and a hug from a baby, getting a random card in the mail. Or even something really simple like a txt message or an IM. Often I feel guilty because I want to do so much for people but never seem to have the time or money to do what I want. I want to spend hours with my friends for days and days--I want to give them all special gifts, I want to connect to people all the time, but real life trumps that. I work all day (and update my LJ on breaks), do errands after work til about 730ish, then there is Aidan to tend to. And family. So I have to pick and choose. Unfortunately, those that are more aggressive about contacting me have a better chance to getting with me for lots of reasons: 1. Fear of rejection. 2. Methods. I'm not a "call someone 'let's go do something'" kind of girl. I'm a "let's exchange some emails or txt messages or IMs, make some plans and meet somewhere in a few days" kind of a girl. 3. Past experiences. 4. INSECURITY. 5. I'm definitely more of a reactor than an actor. For example, if someone calls me, I'll try to get back to him or her as soon as I can (usually through email rather than a phone call, though). But I very rarely call. I can barely bring myself to call and order a darn pizza. I used to love phones back in the day--now the ringing kind of grates on my nerves (thanks to the telemarketing boom back in the day. Okay, who am I kidding? It was all those darn bill collectors back in 1997. Because of that stage in my life, I've gone off phones quite a lot.) 6. I can be plain ole forgetful, so honestly, if it's not sitting in my inbox and definitely if it's not in my planner, I'm probably not going to remember. Nothing personal, I just need things to be in writing for me to get it. 7. Focus. Even though I have the ability to multi-task, I do much better when I have one thing to focus on at a time. Which sucks because sometimes other things suffer because of that. I am a perpetually guilty, kind of flaky, more-than-slightly scatterbrained girl who is not always going to do things right. This girl doesn't always know what's expected of her. And because of that, she seems to let people down left and right even when she has no idea that she's doing so. And that breaks her heart. She hates to hurt people (well, unless they've hurt her first but we're not even going to go there...) How many times have I been "burned" at work because a boss wanted me to do something or especially BE a certain way but never communicated it to me? Or worse, the expectations changed but I wasn't made aware of it. How many times have I felt deeply offended because I invited someone somewhere and never got a response; but maybe I didn't ask for a response and I didn't ask for one in a specified time frame? And I've lost count of the times I felt like my opinions and efforts were worthless because I sent along an article or a link or something that I thought someone would be interested in only to never hear a peep from that person. I never told anyone that's what I wanted. I NEED to be acknowledged. It's a character flaw, but it's MY character flaw. It's been there all my life. I'm not perfect. I like to do things for people, but I also like for them to say something to me about it. Even if I do get embarrassed when (some) people gush, I make a mental note to do even more special things for that person because I know that person appreciates my efforts. It's truly a joy to make someone else happy. Because of that, I need to know how I affect you. I need to know if the little things I’m doing are making you feel loved. Because if they aren’t, then I’m wasting time and resources and that isn’t fair to either of us.
But you know what? Maybe even when expectations have been communicated, we have to realize that people are still going to screw up. We’re going to get tired. We’re going to get busy. We’re going to get stressed, sick, hurt. We’re going to get confused and not know the right things to say. But as a Christian, I am kind of called to turn the other cheek a lot, a lot. So I try to. And yet, I feel like if *I* do any of those things listed above, then I’m perpetually evil and a bad person, that I don’t deserve friends, my job, any good things. Flawed thinking perhaps because I am extra, extra hard on myself. Or maybe it is the truth. I don’t know anymore.
3. Response. If I send an email and ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS, please either answer them or tell me that you (proverbial) don’t want to answer them. No reason is neccesary, just let me know. Or if I have a request, at least acknowledge it even if you have no intention of filling it. (And I don’t mean sending me Chocodiles when I post it on my LJ, I mean if I send you an email with something specific). When my questions/requests are ignored, I feel like I don’t matter to that person. I feel like that person read my email, rolled his/her eyes, and deleted the email. I’ve annoyed him or her again. And that’s a horrible feeling.
4. Acknowledgement. If I give you something or show you something, please say something small to me about it. (This is one I need to work on!!). I know this is a day and age of skimming and running, but seriously (and I’m talking to myself here as well) if someone does something for you–small or big, then that person thought of you. Someone cares enough about you enough to say “Hey, I think he’d like this,” or “Hey, I think she’d be interested in this” or “Hey, this could help her on that project she’s working on.” The least you could do is thank them. Two words. Two seconds to plop that into an email or IM and be on your way. Or at least have the guts to say “Hey, I don’t like when you send me stuff, could you stop?” Yes, that will hurt, but it will be better in the long run.
5. Understanding. Don’t assume I don’t care if I’m not contacting you all the time. BELIEVE ME when I say that my friends are in my prayers and in my thoughts ALL THE TIME. But I have a family, work, errands out the wazoo, volunteerism, a darn 2300 sq ft house to TRY to keep clean (futile effort for sure) and my writing, which has been getting neglected like whoa lately. I have to make sacrifices and I try to change up what I need to sacrifice so that one thing doesn’t always have to get pushed aside. For a while, my sacrifice was sleep, which turned out very badly for me. So now I have to learn, again, to manage my time better.
That’s really all I want. I say “that’s all” like it’s some cutesy little thing. It’s not. Those few things can explode into so much–things that I may not even know about yet.
What Should You Expect From Me?
1. If I know you personally, special surprises from time to time to show you I care about you.
2. Timid honesty.
4. Response/Acknowledgement in some way, shape or form. I am working on this one, because I want it so much from others. It’s only fair that I deliver it too. In a more timely manner!!!
5. Understanding. (Another one I am working on)
What I Am Going to Stop Expecting:
1. That people will care just because I pour my heart out to them.
2. That people will respond if I pour my heart out.
3. That people give a banana about my expectations, let alone follow them.
4. That I’m going to be able to please everyone, all the time.
One of the hardest things for me to let go of will be thinking that everyone wants what I want or that they work the same way I do. Around Christmas, I wanted to get a friend a gift, but he refused 95 million times. I was deeply offended back then, thinking “Why won’t he take a gift from me? Does he think he’s too good for something I’d buy him?” But now I am learning not to stress so much. Maybe it had nothing to do with me, maybe he just doesn’t like getting random gifts from people. Although Christmas isn’t really random, but that’s not the point!
So the point of all this babble?
1. To get things off of my chest.
2. To try to alleviate a portion of the perpetual guilt I feel every single day and night.
3. To be honest and open and clear. True, it’s through a LJ, but again, this is not aimed at any person in particular.
I’m hungry, I’m going to get a cheeseburger (not from McDonalds!)!