Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unmet expectations.

Currently I am doing a bible study (with a small group of wonderful girls) called Me, Myself, and Lies by Jennifer Rothchild.  This study is about giving yourself a total thought closet makeover.  Now for me this study has had good and bad weeks.  Relatable and irrelevant.  But this weeks concept applies to you whether your 'religious', of faith, or not.  

One thing that can get your thought closet really out of wack is unmet expectations.  Now this may or may not speak to your daily life but it does to mine.  I'm the queen of high expectations.  I put a lot of energy into work, friendships, my relationships with my family members, just about everything I do.  Now that being said, I also EXPECT a lot of the people in my life.  If you know me and you're not instantly agreeing with me (about myself) than that's probably because my ability to express my expectations is sorely lacking.

While I'm quick to hold people to my standards, I'm slow to communicate those standards.  For example, giving gifts is something I love to do.  I love to pick out gifts for someone, write out a long well thought out card, and hope that this makes them feel special on the day they receive it.  One year for my birthday I had high expectations not of getting the perfect gift but of getting a well thought out gift from a particular person.  It could have been from the dollar store but I wanted it to have personal meaning.  What did I get?  A gift card.  

If you're thinking oh boo hoo, tough cookies for me. Well then I'm with you.  Now, in hindsight it seems silly that I took this as a smack in the face of the hard work I'd put into this persons past few gifts.  I actually LOVE gift cards and every year for my birthday I ask for money so I can get exactly what I want (I'm picky).  These reasons are probably exactly why I got that gift card but I wanted a significant piece of jewelry, a spa day with them, a journal with a 'foreword' by this person, something of that nature.  So why didn't I just tell them what I wanted?

What I got for that birthday was unmet expectations.  That's a silly, stupid, girly version of what I really mean.  I place expectations on my career, myself, my friends, my family members and when those expectations go unmet my thought closet throws up.  I get hurt.  I get angry. I get disappointed.  This range of emotions depending on the particular incident.  But what goes on in my head is ugly.

Worse yet?  I FEED those ugly thoughts.  I throw myself a little pity party in my head and remind myself over and over that I deserved better.  That I was wronged!

When you get upset, whichever particular emotion you may have ie: anger, resentment, frustration - how do you react?  I react by isolating myself.  I tune people out and go to this place in my head where I can justify how I feel.  I don't blow up, scream, or usually even cry.  I bottle up my emotions and fan the flames of the chaos in my thought closet.

One thing someone suggested to me was to ask myself, will this matter in a year?  

I haven't had opportunity to try this yet but it makes a world of sense.

This week I'm purposing to keep lies out of my thought closet and express my expectations AND my emotions.  I hope that this little window into my head has been helpful to you in some way.  And hasn't made you afraid to give me a gift card in the future, I promise I really do love them! 



Anonymous said...

This is so great Becca - thanks for sharing your heart!


Ebony Jewel said...

I'm starting to think that this whole unmet expectations is a generational thing; yes, I admit that each person is different, but I think our generation is like this. I feel like sometimes I set myself up for disappointment; I expect more from people than they are willing to give, but never tell them my expectations. When when I expect doens't happen, I too have a bit of a pity party in my head & say that I deserved better, but I never let anyone know my expectation.

It's a bit frustrating because I haven't quite figured out how exactly to deal with it, but I suspect in due time I'll get there. :)