Feeling that we have been let down is the hurt we feel when other people do not meet our expectations or behave like we would. But are our expectations realistic?
We are a result of past experiences that include our upbringing, how we are treated, our values and our self-perception. All these experiences program our emotional response to the world and each person is programmed differently in thought and behaviour.
Of all those experiences, our values shape our expectations the most because they represent what is important to us. But because what is important differs from person to person, we all behave differently. When we expect others to behave as we would, we make a “claim”. And claims are toxic.
An easy way to identify a “claim” is when we hear or use the word “should. Making claims on people is one surefire way of feeling let down. We then waste time resentfully going over what the other person “should” have done. But if we stop making claims about others, we free ourselves from all the negative emotion and that is truly liberating!
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Here is a common scenario. Perhaps you are the only one who organises the get-togethers for your family or friends from setting the date and time to making the reservations. You genuinely enjoy it but then you wonder why no one else offers to take over and start feeling like you are being taken for granted.
You have two choices here. Either stop organising the events even though they bring you joy or understand that you are the most organised one in the group and the reason everyone has maintained such good ties with each other. Clearly, the second option is a better one for your emotional wellbeing. If the get-togethers are important to you then take responsibility for your own happiness and choose to be the organiser.
Another common scenario is if you are house-proud but live with people who are more relaxed about keeping the house in order. Most of the time this involves a mother and teenager children. Perhaps you have tried asking, lecturing and ordering but to no avail, and you cannot understand why they do not value the importance of an orderly home. So you argue over the same issues over and over again.
Again, you have two options. Either keep expecting the other person to do what you want the way you want it and get upset when they do not or understand that their priorities are different and find a compromise.
If you relate to either scenario, here are some tips on how to manage it.
1. Every time you hear yourself think or say the word “should”, ask yourself this – “According to whom?” This question prompts you to realise that you are judging someone else.
2. Replace the word “should” with “could’ and notice how that judgement disappears.
3. Let go of claims. Either do something from your heart or do not do it at all.
Understanding this concept will also enable us to stop using “should” on ourselves, which will free us from self-judgement.
And this, I promise you, is a very a liberating space to live in!