Get Real (Expectations)!
Welcome back to Truth Bites—a little insight, a new perspective and some clarity on many issues women face today.
“If we’re too rigid in our expectations, it can lead to damaged relationships and pain.”
Expectations are funny things.
By definition, an expectation is a belief that something will happen in a particular way, usually the way we want it. We may or may not have them subconsciously; in fact, they can be subtle. Take a look at holidays, for instance. In a woman’s mind, we typically envision exactly how we want things to be—the food, the decorations, who will be there, and what we’ll all be doing or feeling. “This is going to be the best (Christmas, birthday, anniversary, Thanksgiving…) ever!” we think to ourselves. However, it rarely turns out that way. Chances are, our expectations were too high.
The problem is that we often place high expectations on people, too, usually unbeknownst to them. We place them on our kids, our husbands, and even our friends, to act or behave a certain way, to do the things we expect them to do in the way we expect them to be done. If we’re too rigid in our expectations, it can lead to damaged relationships and pain. Throughout my life, I have placed very high expectations on my friends, which explains a lot about why I’ve lost many of them over the years. I admit I was pretty demanding. Let’s face it, I have high standards for myself, so I expected it of others, too. I considered myself to be a good friend, so I expected them to be a good friend back…and if that didn’t happen according to how I thought that should be like, then I would get frustrated, mad, and downright snippy! Instead of this making me attractive to my friends, it actually ended up repelling them away from me.
In God’s Radical Plan for Wives, we talk about what it means to be a woman who is attractive versus repellant. One of the key things that makes a person attractive or not is her level of flexibility. To be flexible means to be willing to adapt and change to different circumstances, or to be accommodating or cooperative in an understanding way. If we are too rigid in our expectations of people and aren’t willing to work with them in their circumstances, then we face losing, or at least damaging, the relationship.
God, in His infinite wisdom, knows this, of course. That’s why in 1 Peter 3:1-6, Peter talks about what God considers a great quality for wives: a gentle and quiet spirit, which includes the quality of being flexible—the opposite being inflexibility, which is neither gentle, nor quiet. What I have found to be true is that when I am less demanding and more flexible, my relationships thrive. But when I’m rigid and demanding, I’m alone. I have to accept people the way they are, understand their circumstance, and lower my expectations of them. Just like I can’t be perfect, no one can be the perfect friend, kid, spouse, etc. In fact, it’s very selfish to expect them to be, and the very opposite of being loving.
How does this apply to you?
Do you expect a lot out of people? Are your demands too high? Take a hard look at the relationships in your life and consider the condition they’re in. Start with your husband, then your kids, other family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. If any of them are struggling, consider their circumstances in an understanding way. Do you need to adjust your level of flexibility or lower your expectations? How? If you don’t know their circumstances, then it’s a good time to find out! You never know what people are going through and you may be just the one they need right now.
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