Thursday, April 12, 2012

Great Expectations

Does that word just ooze with guilt for you the way it sometimes does  for me?

Why is it that what we expect from our self or others can get us into so much trouble?

I got to thinking about this at the track meet this week.  

My daughter, who has cerebral palsy (along with disabilities from fetal alcohol and drugs), has one leg shorter than the other and is weak on her left side compared to the right side, got first place in discus, second place in shot put and with her fellow teammates, got another first place in their weightman's relay at last week's track meet (which was the first one of the year).

On Tuesday I went to the track meet with high hopes of another great showing for my daughter, simply because of her past performance.  But just like all of life's events, I realize now that it was so wrong to do that.

I could sense from the demeanor of my girl that she was feeling stressed and that the weight of everyone's expectations was weighing on her shoulders.  Mind you, I'm not sure she even was aware of that herself outwardly, but it was palpable nevertheless.  On one hand, she was feeling good about herself, I know.  She wants so desperately to be good at SOMETHING.  There are kids in school who get great grades without really trying, are good at every sport and always get to play, who get awards for their art work or essays or spelling bees, etc.  And my girl just wants to be good at ONE thing.  Don't we all?

Let's just say that the day didn't go as everyone expected, which was OKAY.

But it got me pondering on how we let expectations--our own or others'---dictate our actions and feelings about ourselves.  I could be an expert on this since I have always been a people pleaser and never want to let anyone down.  

But I've learned over the forty-something years of my life that trying to live up to expectations is a destroyer of our souls.  It ruins us.  When we race around life using the measuring stick of everyone we don't want to disappoint to rule our behavior we end up being a mess.

Recently, someone I love dearly was afraid to talk to me because they feared my disappointment in something that was troubling them.  It SO hurt my heart to realize that I had put some kind of expectation on them that they were unable to fulfill and now it was hurting our relationship!

I want to be the person who loves you  no matter what you do or say that might not be what I expected.

How I pray that I remember that, not only at track meets, but in my day to day relationships.

What expectations have you had to let go of in order to have a healthy relationship?

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