As humans, we are conditioned to have a give/take mentality when it comes to interacting with others. Within this mentality, what I mean is, most times, we have expectations (specific returns) that others are to live up to and when they don’t, we can occasionally build a bias against them.
One of the things that I have been trying to work on, key word: trying, is placing no expectations upon others. I realized that when I expect a person to act or communicate in a certain way, I am opening myself up for disappointment, anger, sadness, and the strong possibility of expanding my bias to a larger group.
For most my life, I have given of myself probably more than I should have. I had hoped for reciprocation — I am human after all. I would tell myself that I did a good thing and it will positively improve my life in some way. Example, I would allow my classmates to copy my homework, with the expectation that they would be more kind and a friend to me. After a while, I’m sure you already know, my classmates had not changed towards me. My younger self became sad and felt defective.
You see, I used my form of logic to create my expectations of others, not realizing that every person thinks in their own way and therefore I was doomed to be disappointed. I was not accepting people for who they were but was expecting them to act and react as I thought they should, which can cause negative emotions. Some people just don’t have the capacity to meet expectations, which is no fault on their part.
My path towards equanimity is leading me down a road where I do not set expectations upon others. This does not mean I allow people to disrespect me or treat me badly. It simply means that when someone shows me who they are, I believe them and conduct myself accordingly.
I am in control of my thoughts, actions and reactions. Allowing people to be themselves and do what they are driven to do gives me peace of mind. When I accept people for who they are and what they bring to the table, it gives me the room to decide if I want to interact with that person further or not.
I should not expect my happiness and satisfaction with life to come from others. I should expect happiness to come from within.