Expecting too much from your expectations of others?

I had an ‘aha’ moment this morning about my own patterns of habits when I was reflecting on an incident when I felt let down by someone close to me.

I have always been secretly pleased (and smug) with myself about the fact that I can eventually learn to let go of the expectations I have of people close to me. I can over time learn to let them be free from my neediness and therefore have a more freer relationship. I learn to accept them for what they are willing to give me in the relationship. Eventually!

But what I didn’t realise was I hadn’t still learnt to stop expecting things from those close to me. So I go through this never ending cycle of imagining what another person can give me, and then realising that they may not always fulfil these expectations and then reminding myself that they are only human and that I should accept them for who they are.

I was so impressed by my own aha moment of my own frailties that I shared it with two friends early morning for their feedback. They were quick to point out that as human beings its quite normal to have attachments and expectations from those we love. I also reflected that as I get older I am also better at letting the other person know what I am expecting from them. But I am still secretly hoping that they will read in to my actions of how I respond to them, of what I give them and that they will read in between the lines and infer what I am expecting from them. What can I say I am human and a woman no less!!

I also reflected that this kind of heartache happens mostly in our personal relationships. In our professional relationships we have all our expectations and measurements of the success delivery of those expectations in our performance management processes – as goal setting, as competency frameworks etc. So much easier. If only we could have these in our personal relationships too.

But then the richness of the emotional growth we may have will be limited and will be clinical. Who wants to let go of the heartaches and pain that mould us and grow us and makes us wiser?

However, this is a lesson for all those managers out there, that to try and be as clear as possible of what you want your team members to deliver. Be as clear as possible as to what you can deliver, who you are as a leader and what to expect from you. Help them understand when you are going through a process of transformation or difficulties. This will make you more authentic as a person and as a leader.

Take this back home too. Learn to be authentic. Show who you are as a child, parent, spouse, lover, friend. Ask for what you want from others. Negotiate when necessary. But also know that as much as you can ask for something from someone, that person always has the right to refuse it. Understand that these define the parameters of your relationships.

So until I reach the Bodhisatva state, I shall be more aware of my patterns, and can lessen my attachments to expectations of others and learn to be a little more clearer from the outset of my expectations. I can’t promise miracles but I will ‘live’ trying.

Wishing you an ‘aha’ moment in your leadership and personal growth.



Image Credit – Dan  – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=587