Am I supposed to have expectations or not? Who is to know when we are confronted with varying messages in our world? Add to that a bit of travel fatigue and I am in a real quandry.
Take Covey's quote:
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and
he will become as he can and should be.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Doesn't that mean we should have expectations of people so they will rise to the challenge? But what about this quote?
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
And what about this quote from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous?
"My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations. The higher my expectations of other people are, the lower is my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But then my 'rights' try to move in, and they, too, can force my serenity level down. I have to discard my 'rights,' as well as my expectations, by asking myself, How important is it, really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety'? And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level - at least for the time being."
I have found that, for me and my life, it is safest when I give up my own expectations of the way people are supposed to act or supposed to be and just.....well, let them be. But wowee! that is sure easier said than done. I want for every training I do to be perfect. I want everyone with whom I work to get along. I want for my family to all make healthy choices. I want.....I want.....I want. The problem with that scenario is that "wishing doesn't make it so". All I can really do is take care of doing the very best job I can, help people when they have questions, and hope and pray they "get it" if they wind up on a slow road to nowhere.
I am grateful today for the ability to not have as many expectations of people and situations as I did 10 years ago. I also firmly believe that things (and yes, people) turn out the way they are intended to turn out, remarkably without my assistance.
Just for today, can you let go of the expectations you have about other people and about difficult situations in your own life and maybe take a moment to say the Serenity Prayer?