You know that not-so-great feeling you get when something is not going right? Sometimes you’re not even sure why you are not feeling quite right, and then it hits you. We feel bad/mad/sad/uncomfortable when things are not going “right.” What’s “right?” It’s when things are not in line with your personal morals, goals, or expectations. Basically – when you’re not getting what you want (or hope for).
When a situation that has unfolded truly does not line up with my expectations or goals, it could be because of two general reasons. Either my goals are skewed, or the situation is skewed. Often, my instinct is to assume that the situations is skewed – someone has wronged me: she shouldn’t have said that, I can’t believe he didn’t call me back, etc.
Let’s be honest, it does happen. People make mistakes and sometimes say or do things that are not exactly fantastic. In this case – I have very little responsibility. My responsibility lies with myself; in communicating to the other party how their actions or words have affected me. That’s all! It’s completely up to them to further explain themselves in case I have misunderstood them, or to apologize. If I fulfill my responsibility of letting them know that something they have said or done has negatively affected me, my work is done. If the other party doesn’t return the favour by helping to rectify the situation – it is simply a reflection on them. I know that I am not responsible for the actions of others, and that I can’t always get a full explanation, further understanding, or even an apology (if necessary).
On the other hand, I also make mistakes. Perhaps I have set an expectation too high, and when someone” fails” me – I again feel like I’m not getting what I wanted. It’s my responsibility to check those expectations and goals, to ensure that they are reasonable. Often I expect others to treat me exactly as I would treat them. This isn’t always plausible! Some people, by nature (*ahem* sometimes me…), bend over backwards and go above and beyond for those around them. Not that this is a bad thing… But if you are always leaping far beyond the expectations of others, it’s important NOT to always expect the same from those around you. So when a situation arises, and someone doesn’t meet my expectations and that not-so-great feeling arises – I check my expectations! Are they realistic? Why do I expect these actions of this person? If it seems reasonable, then I get back to responsibility land – of communicating with them about any problems I might be having, or questions I have.
So I’ve been learning – that I can’t always get what I want. And when I don’t, it’s good to check WHY I want what I want, and figure out if it’s reasonable. Once I have checked myself FIRST, and find that what I want (expect) IS reasonable – then the outside investigating begins… 🙂