Where have you always been?
Without always being aware of it, we demand too much from others.
Whether it is our spouse, our kids and employees (especially), or simply those who make our life more colorful — we always have demands.
Most of us however are anxious about asserting ourselves, about expressing our demands. Since childhood, we are told that we should be polite, put on a smile, and avoid attracting too much attention.
This makes us passive.
Instead of being aware that we have such and such demands, and then having a serious discussion with the people that are concerned — we feel frustrated because we want something to be one way, and the other behaves differently.
Out of this frustration, we poorly express our needs; in most cases it happens aggressively. And if the other person loves and cares about us, especially children and people who look up to us, we hurt them.
Depending on their trust, they may or may not conform to our “commands,” because yes, they are orders. And when they do, although they may feel ecstatic for receiving our validation — as a parent, a leader, a person who has been trusted with the responsibility of caring for others; we have failed.
The younger we are, the more malleable our brain is. This is nothing new. During childhood, we absorb information quickly and deeply.
In the case of the above, this means that for a child, or anyone who willingly opens to us — what happens is that such souls go about their lives, enslaved by people’s expectations from them.
It is less that society and others have too many expectations from them, and more that they project their past experiences on their present ones.
Like it happened with daddy decades ago, if we open ourselves to a teacher, a mentor or someone we admire and love (an authority), we want to get their validation. Even if it means doing things that are not aligned with who we are.
And because being what we are not is impossible; eventually, we break apart. We may push as hard as we want. We may experience some fun in the material domain, which isn’t complicated to have as long as we play with Newtonian physics. But eventually, we feel worn out.
And when we come to the realization that no matter how hard we tried, there was no way we could meet everyone’s expectations from us — we may feel terrible about ourselves.
For many days, weeks, months and sometimes years — we may drag a heavy cloud of guilt. For many nights, we may not sleep. For many mornings, we may fear opening our eyes and see that this burden is still there, like a shadow.
What you are encouraged to do at this point, if you are experiencing something similar, is to verbalize your feelings. You can do it on your own.
In being present with our suffering, and looking at it for what it is — not engaging in thought; we may come to the realization that we feel bad about ourselves for having “disappointed” the other.
Tears may come out.
It is less that society and others have too many expectations from us, and more that we have acquired limiting beliefs that cloud our reasoning. We project these deeper beliefs in our lives. And we behave according to them whether or not the other actually expects something from us.
Now, obviously we are all humans — we all have flaws. Most of us have expectations from people. But it is our duty and responsibility to keep those expectations in check. They’re ours. We shouldn’t pollute others’ lives with our unresolved issues.
That’s what it means to be mature.
If others have expectations from us, the same applies. Their problem. Not ours. Each one of us has to deal with his own stuff. And let others flourish at their own rhythm.
This is real love.
As we understand how, throughout the biggest part of our lives, we have been mean to ourselves — basically, to get some form of external validation; we realize that we have become a stranger to ourselves.
What do we want? Asking ourselves this question can almost makes us nervous. Me? You mean, I can say that I want something too?
Of course you can.
What do you want? What is aligned with the unique being that you are? What feels true for you? What feels right for you?
Do you want to sing all the time? Do you want to express your love for mankind, animals, plants, and beyond in creative ways? Do you want to sit at the beach, watch the sunset, and breathe deeply?
Your life is yours. You choose.
Yes, you may have to change some habits, get organized, and so on to get there. But in the mean time, look into yourself. Act on your inclinations. You have something to give. Share it with us.
And, live for you.
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