Yesterday I had two experiences with two different groups of people. In the first experience, I got my feelings hurt. In the second, it was like water off a duck's back--I wasn't affected at all. What was the difference? After talking with my hubby about it over coffee this morning, I decided that whether I'm hurt or not many times boils down to this one thing: my expectations.
- 1st - I was new in a group of eight women for the third week in a row. Although they were friendly, no one went out of her way to talk to me. I realized I had an unconscious expectation that new people in a group should be welcomed and assimilated by those who have been there longer. The reality is, however, that as a new person, I was actually crashing their party.
- 2nd - I visited a group of friends I'd known a couple of years. One started talking about an upcoming event that did not involve me and to which I had not been invited. I wasn't the least bit hurt or even miffed. I thought, "That's just the way that person is." Unconsciously, I had already worked through my expectations and had moved to acceptance of this person.
After thinking about my different responses to those two situations, I realized that I am sometimes hardnosed and inflexible (though I hate to admit that!) and I thinly veil my expectations of others as "hopes." The problem is that my lofty ideals cause me and others unnecessary pain.
I don't like living that way, though. I'd rather have the peace and joy that comes from acceptance in all my relationships. That's why this year I've decided to give my friends and family an unusual, but practical, gift--I'm going to grow a set of duck feathers. I'm going to take myself less seriously and love and accept my dear ones right where they are.
I "expect" I won't get it right straight away or very often at first, but I promise to try.
Care to join me? Come on in--the water is fine.