On my mind this week is what you're supposed to do with unmet expectations. I've come a long way as a communicator this year and I've learned to lay on the line my expectations in friendships, relationships, work situations, etc but what I haven't grown so much as to understand is where exactly you place your unmet expectations.
I've had a few tough situations lately in which I've made the effort to 'do my part' only to be disappointed by a lack of effort on the other end. I realize that no relationship can be successful when it's one-sided but as we grow older we realize that most do go through periods of time that are carried more heavily by one person than the other. I may go through a tough time in which my sister and best friend, Rachel, may be the one calling more often, sending more encouraging text messages, or spending more time in prayer for me than I am for her in that season. But times will change and we'll enter the next season where the reverse is true and for that season I will be bare the bulk of the weight. However, there has never been a successful time in our relationship in which either of us was having to hold up 100% of the weight. Am I making sense here?
If I were giving advice to someone in a similar situation to some I find myself in I would tell them as kindly as possible that this relationship may be one to let go. Breaking up with friends is never fun, right? I always feel like the end of a friendship is a personal failure on my part. But truthfully some friends come and go while others stay forever. I am someone who tries to make all my relationships last forever but in the last few years I have really started asking myself, ' is this someone you WANT in your life forever?' and following that up with 'is this person willing to be that kind of friend too?'.
In one of my first dating experiences ever, I was basically young and stupid - but when I look back at the takeaways from that time in life I can tell you this - doing all the work just doesn't pan out. You can have the best of intentions and make all the big sacrifices but not only will you lose yourself along the way, you won't save the relationship.
One of the qualities of 2011 I love most is I have never felt more like myself than I do now. I have been more open, more honest, and more me this year than ever before. I feel comfortable. Not to the point where I am not obsessively pushing myself harder each day but comfortable within my own skin. I'm growing, I'm learning, I'm screwing up and bouncing back, and I'm being myself.
Perhaps the lesson to learn here is this: it's ok to be the bigger person, in fact that's an expectation I have of myself. It is not, however, ok to carry the full weight of any relationship. Don't be afraid to let people go, it may just open up more of your time and more of your heart for the people who matter most, the ones who will be there til the end. And I know I've said a few times this year that I'm a pretty big proponent of burning bridges when it's necessary, but I will caution you to make sure that if you go that route it's because you know it's necessary and not because you're angry at unmet expectations. Er whenever possible on the side of extending grace.