I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
(Fritz Perls, “Gestalt Therapy Verbatim”, 1969)
I am reflecting, today, on how it is our expectations of others, and their expectations of us, that seem to cause most of the problems I encounter in the therapy room, between couples and friends, within families and of course in my own life.
We may worry about what others think of us, that they expect us to be efficient or kind and that we are not, or that they expect us to be harsh and we are hurt because their expectations feel unfair or cause us stress as we try to live up to them. We may be over concerned with ‘what the neighbours think’ or what our mother would say.
We may be hurt because others do not do what we expect them to do, we expect them to return our text, remember our birthday, tell us they love us, or to understand why we are upset when they don’t. We expect them to be a particular way and we feel affronted that they behave like them and not like us.
I wonder how far can we take the idea of acceptance? Can we let go of our great expectations and allow people and ourselves to be different and unique? Could we stop being hurt or annoyed because someone is ‘doing their thing’? Can we mind our own business? It is challenging, isn’t it not to correct people or perfect them to our own standards?
What impact might it have on our relationships if we take acceptance of difference between ourselves and others to the next level? If we do our own thing?
When we find the meeting between us, then we have beautiful moments. Other times we just don’t see things the same way and it’s no one’s fault. I’m not meant to change myself or to try and change the other person.
I will talk some more next time about how improved honesty and communication might help us have more beautiful moments and fewer ‘it can’t be helped’ experiences, how sharing and communicating our wishes and desires helps us find each other. For now I shall leave you to ponder something Wayne Dyer said on the CD I am listening to at the moment, something which made me stop and smile:
“What others think of you is none of your business.” Wayne Dyer