Some people will go to bed tonight feeling loved and happy. Their partner will have met their expectations and done all the right things to make them feel special.
Others will go to bed tonight feeling sad and alone. Their expectations will not have been met and they will feel more unloved and unwanted than ever.
The common thread in these two examples is that both of these groups are determining how they feel, based on the actions of another.
When we have expectations in a relationship, when we feel we need our partner to do specific things in order for us to feel good, we set ourselves up for heartache.
No one can meet all of our needs. Even if our partner gets really good at it, inevitably there will come a time when they are unable to meet our needs and when that happens it feels really painful. And because it all hinges on what someone else does, we are powerless to change it or feel better.
And when our partner has expectations of us (spoken or unspoken), we start to feel pressure. Pretty soon we find ourselves feeling self-consciousness and monitoring what we do, we begin to walk on eggshells and stop being who we really are. Expectation can really set us up for heartache and resentment in a relationship.
So, what do we do?
We begin by being aware of our expectations. When we can identify and understand what we are expecting from others, we can begin to meet our needs on our own. We release our partner from expectation and allow a feeling of ease to come into our relationship.
If you give or receive one gift this Valentine’s Day, choose to feel good about yourself, whether anyone else does anything for you or not.
Come back to the site this week for further discussion, personal examples of this and exercises to help you implement this in your own life.