On this ninth day of Christmas and as we start to settle into the new year, I have been thinking about resolutions and habits and the ruts we as humans get ourselves into. I don't have much truck for resolutions. It is convenient to try to start new things on the first of the year, but why not start anytime. As for resolutions, I think it's time to be more gentle with ourselves. So often we are bent on improving ourselves, adopting and attaining an expectation or a goal someone else set for us.
As always, my children are great teachers, as I struggle and work through the challenges of life. One thing I have been thinking in depth about this past year is expectations and assumptions. Yesterday, I read a thoughtful post on Tiny Buddha about the meaning of expectations and what happens when my expectations or assumptions aren't met.
I am starting to realize that when I get frustrated or angry about a messy room, autism, a super-slow driver, my "inability" to plow through a pretty long self-inflicted to-do list or even someone else's expectations of me, something is a bit out of whack. I was expecting something, the traffic, the state of my to-do list, the kitchen, the laundry or other people's behavior, to be different. I was assuming that the other person would make the same choices I would make or do what I would do. Why?
I realize I am not alone in having expectations, making assumptions and having feelings of frustration when things don't turn out like I expected. It seems to be our condition. Hopefully though, with some practice, I might lessen the effects of unmet expectations, unspoken assumptions. I find that in the moments that I can achieve this, I feel pretty content.
In the article, the author, Lori Deschene, wrote what I feel to be some wonderful truths. She stated "the cause of most conflict in relationships: one person does [or says] something or doesn’t do [or say] something, and the other [person] makes assumptions about what [it all might] mean." Lori was talking about relationships in her article, but I think this lesson can apply to pretty much everyone we run into during our day. "[P]eople are generally doing their best", including you and me.
How about you? Do you have words to live by?