Sometimes I wonder if I hold people in my life liable for not performing certain actions that I feel that they could or should. This falls under the heading of expectations, some of which are probably reasonable but many of which really aren’t.
Here’s an example. A lady in the volunteer chorus with which I sing said something wholly unpleasant to me during our last sequence of rehearsals in the spring of last year. She didn’t apologize then for her rudeness and regrettably, I remember specifically what she said.
We spoke again last week and I expected not only that she would remember that conversation, but also that she would express her regrets for having said what she did. Of course, I didn’t remind her and we spoke on a completely normal and friendly basis. Does she not remember? Is she embarrassed at what she said? I guess it doesn’t matter. The only fault here is mine for not forgetting the remarks.
And so I suggest that many of us create conversations or actions that we expect others to carry out, almost as if we had responsibility for what they do or say. Maybe it’s a matter of different generations or upbringing. When I publish a new book, I fully expect that I will receive congratulations and/or purchases from those who know and appreciate my work. But it’s definitely setting myself up for disappointment.
Is the alternative to expect nothing from others, thereby eliminating the possibility of feeling bad? That’s difficult to say. Maybe it’s another take on the golden rule to which I often allude. If someone close to me achieves or accomplishes something, I feel privileged to share that milestone by extending congratulations. But expecting any or all of those people to reciprocate falls under the heading of expectations, reasonable or otherwise.
It’s probably a little late in my life to change that part of my outlook. But I can be definite about not expressing my regret that was based on (unreasonable) expectations. We’ll just go from there. Shalom.