When we place expectations on others, it can only ever lead to disappointment and self-inflicted frustration. When placing expectations on another person, we stop focussing on what we contribute to the dynamics of a situation.
This afternoon I found myself in a whirl of agitation. I tackled numerous small tasks with gusto, determined to achieve resolution. However, I seemed to encounter a wall of resistance comprised partially of procrastination and an acceptance of mediocrity.
My cheeks grew a deeper shade of red, and my calm, smiley demeanour faltered. Why the heck were these people just accepting a poor standard as being “just the way things are”?
Is this really my problem?
I pondered why I had to nag and take responsibility for tasks belonging to others. I realise in adopting this approach I ensure things are done in accordance with time requirements. However, is it really necessary for me to take onboard this responsibility? What would happen if I didn’t do the work for them? Why can’t I leave it with those people so they can take ownership and finish those tasks?
Expectations of Myself & of Others
I admit the expectations I have for myself and of others is high. I try like blazes to avoid judgement. The most effective way to sidestep that baby is to maintain high levels of quality in what I create. The problem with this is that other people get lazy. You also end up robbing them the opportunity for learning and personal growth which is in a way, cruel.
Like a self-flagellating Franciscan monk, I beat myself when mistakes are made, and details are missed. Whenever I miss a full-stop off the end of a sentence, I can still hear a consultant I used to work for castigate me for the error (even when the document was only a draft). I still repeat his words in my head with a judgemental, disdainful tone. “Details, Annie, details.” With this, a pervading guilt rises within me. And I remorsefully push myself to ‘right‘ whatever ‘wrong‘ I have made.
My Judgement of Me
It occurs to me the expectations I place on others are actually about my own personal self-judgement. When presenting forth the work of another person dovetailed into my own, and the quality they have provided is poor, there is a part of me that leaps into ‘fight or flight’ mode. I feverishly dive into rescue mode, so I don’t have to submit myself to being judged as inadequate or lazy or mediocre.
For the other person, their contribution may have been of an acceptable standard to them. Perhaps they were taught this way. Perhaps, this side of things is just not their strong attribute and they have done the best they could do.
Learning to Accept
If I continue down the route I have been travelling with this whole shamozzle, I am going to end up with sky high blood pressure. I am unable to change the way other people do things. I can only ever adapt the manner I emotionally process and respond to situations.
It is time to set this shitty judgement baggage down. After all, it’s not serving anyone, is it. While there are rules and expectations that need following, perhaps I need to accept that people struggle with meeting demands placed upon them. Perhaps I need to acknowledge and respect they have their own psychological baggage just as I have.
We All Have Strengths & Weaknesses
Working as a team and connectedness is all about letting go of the expectations we have of ourselves and others. It is about us encouraging and appreciating each other as we are. Not as who we would like other people to be.
We are all born with differing strengths and weaknesses. As a society, surely we can find a way to come together and raise standards collectively.
The way in which other people work, and their emotional, mental and physical challenges are not my burden to bear. Likewise, mine is not theirs to bear either. And I strongly feel this is my key learning this week.
With this in mind, I regroup. Next week, I choose to focus on gentleness and consciousness. I choose to focus moving forward as a team player rather than as an individual projecting on to others.
What magic will we be able to create?
Anne McCormack is author of the book, Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind and the award-winning, Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom Of Flowers.
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Interested in more articles? Check these out:
Focus on the Moment, Not the Emotion
My Wish For You – Stepping Into Mindfulness
Making Me Happy! A Journey Into Mindfulness
What Makes You Fizz? Living Your Purpose