When you feel someone close to you has let you down, it can feel like someone has broken your heart. You can feel sad, disappointed, vulnerable, confused, betrayed or even angry. All of these feelings are very common; in fact, almost everyone has experienced these feelings sometime during their life. The key to understanding why you’re feeling this way is to ask yourself…
“What expectations did I have of this relationship?”
Were they reasonable expectations or were they unrealistic? It can be hard to decide which is which, especially when you’re starting to realise just how complicated relationships can be! Expectations can be tricky, we often don’t recognise them, and it takes a bit of brain power in order to become aware of them.
Where do Expectations come from?
Firstly we learn about expectations from our parents; when we were a child our shelter, food; clothing and emotional needs were met, and for some people these needs were not met. All these experiences shape our thinking on what to expect from people. This paints a picture about how people treat us, and we behave towards others. Our parents also teach us about house rules and what they expect of us, be it how we treat ourselves, our sister or brother, or how to behave at a family function.
We then venture onto another learning curve about school, and what teachers expect of us such as behaving well in class; attending class at all times; and completing our homework. We start learning about our class mates and we start to develop social relationships, and this is where it starts to get tricky. Basically our expectations are driven by our needs. Needs can be things like having a sense of belonging; a need to seek approval by our peers; parents and teachers; maybe a need to feel connected to other people; and a need to succeed. It really comes down to the need to survive.
So what does this mean for you? Your thoughts and what you have learnt from your environment and other influences can create your behaviour and attitude towards your friends and family relationships. By the time you are aware of what is going on, you have a relationship built on expectations; then the question is…
“Is the relationship based on realistic or unrealistic expectations?”
Food for thought – Becoming aware of your thoughts, is the first step to empowering yourself! Ask yourself – When did you feel let down? What were you thinking? What were you wanting or needing from that person? What were you hoping for?
Next month – I will share with you some tips on how to discover your expectations, and strategies on how to cope with feeling let down!