If I sow, I reap. If I give, it will be given to me. If I knock, the door will be opened. These are all conditional statements that are used in our everyday lives as we work diligently to get out equal or more than we put in. It’s the law of expectation. Without prompting, l’ve grown accustomed to it. It wasn’t spoken of, it wasn’t intentionally or strategically taught, no one told me what was supposed to happen, I just expected it! So what happens when people don’t get the memo? What happens when the law is broken?
Some of us who have experienced the violation of this lawbreaker feel violated and quite disappointed. This disappointment carries over into areas of our lives where we begin to either lower our expectations or have none at all. Are expectations a bad thing? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What makes expectations challenging are when they are unspoken.
As I stated earlier, there were some things in my life that I just expected. Notice I said things, not people. You see, when we put expectations on people assuming that they should know what we need and how we need it, we lose every…single…time. This happens all the time in relationships. Lisa thought John should know what she likes, so when John comes in with flowers instead of an Edible Arrangement, the whole week shuts down! Are you guilty? Has this happened to you?
I sometimes get the question, “Do I need to repeat my expectations all time?” My answer, “As long as it takes the person to get it.” Expectations can be scary only when we shut ourselves down and are not open to hearing what is being said. Let’s be clear, expectations, especially in relationships, are for you, not the other person.
Has a relationship been damaged or bruised because of an unspoken expectation? If so, what can you do to communicate it effectively?