Friday, September 7, 2012

Unrealistic Expectations can kill Relationships by Huntly Anabs

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Early this morning, I was engaged in a conversation with a friend of mine and our discussion left me thinking about the many battles people fight on the inside that we have no knowledge of. Behind every face is a struggling human spirit. Sometimes the struggle is rooted in physical pain or disease or difficult finances. Sometimes it grows out of wounded relationships. My friend and I were discussing the kind of demands we individuals place on the people in our lives, and how unrealistic some of them are.

We expect our friends, girlfriends, spouses, etc, to be without flaws. And whenever they don’t live up to the standards we set for them, we get disappointed and become bitter. Most of us, somehow, somewhere, have placed unrealistic demands on their spouses, friends, or employees and then we become heart broken when they fail to live up to our demands.

There is nothing that kills relationships more than having unrealistic expectations. It puts people under pressure to perform. It makes them become conscious of their everyday dealings with you. They are no longer free with you and a relationship that’s supposed to work naturally is now put under pressure.

As an individual, I have often times found myself having unrealistic expectations from my friends. Oh! I expect them to read and respond to my ping immediately; oh! I expect them to call me every day; oh! I expect them to be there for me all the time; oh! At all point in time, I expect their attitude towards me to be perfect. But then, there are some things your friends can’t give to you. You’ve got to give yourself what you deserve. This is me being real.

Another thing I realized was that many of the things we look for in people, we lack ourselves. We must be careful not to put the people in our lives under pressure to perform. Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle, and expecting people to come fight your battles for or with you when they have theirs’ to fight is being selfish and unrealistic. People will definitely hurt you; whether they are aware of it or not, they will hurt you.  That only goes to show they are humans.  When such happens, communication is the key. Don’t hold on to something that bothers you and expect things to go smoothly.

Some relationships crash because the people involved failed to talk about what was bothering them. They allowed their pride get in the way of their relationship. Remember that pride builds a wall while love builds a bridge. And trust me when I say this, it’s really sad when the people who gave you the best memories become memories themselves.

When we understand that even the strongest of relationships go through challenges, things become easier for us. Most times, the people you love the most are the ones that hurt you the most. And the hardest thing to do in the world when you’ve been hurt is to be open again. However, healing is made available only to those who open up themselves.

Although healing does not come overnight, it begins to come gradually when you have the realistic and right expectations. This is where forgiveness becomes the key word - letting go of the pains inflicted on us by those we love and embracing them once again. It’s not as easy as it sounds, I know! But we need to have compassion for others at all times so as not to lose ourselves.

As we share with one another, we must be prepared to love each other’s imperfections, even when those imperfections challenge our commitment. Don’t forget; faithful are the wounds of a friend. If a friend hurts you, it’s for a good reason. I believe you are not going to throw away your car just because the battery is bad. Similarly, I believe you are not going to throw away the people in your life just because something about them is faulty. No one is perfect, not even you.

Let us have realistic expectations and to everyone reading, try to look inward to see if you have the characteristics you desire from other people.

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Huntly Anabs is a graduate of the American University of Nigeria and writes to reach out to a world in search of hope. He believes where his legs can't get to, his writings will, to bring about change in the little way he can, and to transform minds. He blogs at http://huntlya.blogspot.com/






30 comments:

  1. This post spoke to me, I have realized of recent that I do place unrealistic expectations on friends and loved ones. Sometimes you look up to people to give you hope and brighten your life while bot realizing that they are undergoing their own battles in life

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    1. I agree with you completely. I mean, these people are supposed to be role models so why would they ever be weak, or publicly show signs of weakness? I think our friends and loved ones need a break from their own battles (and ours too!) sometimes and when they don't deliver, we should just peddle our wares elsewhere!

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    2. Wow! I just posted a tweet saying this article speaks to me, I hadn't even gone halfway.

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  2. Wow! Im short of words. Great stuff.Well done



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  3. I agree for the most part with this article except this part "Similarly, I believe you are not going to throw away the people in your life just because something about them is faulty." I am sorry but some people have to be thrown away either permanently or temporarily for a peace of mind especially if the friendship is becoming toxic there is no point keeping friends who have faults, know they have faults, you have talked to them about their faults, constantly get you in trouble due to their faults or implicate you in situations caused by these faults but still won't change. I had to severe links with a once very good friend of almost seven years and my life is at peace right now.

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    1. I agree with you. But it's better not to burn the bridge.

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    2. you both are absolutely right!! but don't you both think that people deserve a second chance? I mean, what if your mum threw you away just because something about you isn't right? I feel if we learn to look beyond people's imperfections and accept them for who they are knowing that we too aren't perfect, maybe, our relationships can be better. Even the strongest of relations face difficulty and it our perception about the challenges we go through that makes a lot of difference. You don't have to agree anyways

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  4. This is so true though. I say do you and don't expect too much. Even when you get what you think you deserve, be thankful and appreciative.

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  5. It is trite that the less expectations you have from friends, acquaintances, strangers and even family, the less disappointment you will encounter. The only person answerable to you and responsible for you is yourself.

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  6. I love this and I feel like I've been seeing this main message around a lot lately (maybe God is trying to tell me something... hmm)

    It kind of reminds me of a Bob Marley quote I saw on twitter earlier...

    “He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

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    1. Wow, that Bob Marley quote speaks to me so much!

      And the post too, of course.

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    2. This is intense, mehn. Thanks for sharing :)

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    3. "He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you."

      I guess this is the salve I needed for my heart because I was seriously contemplating breaking up w/ my boyfriend because I felt he liked being by himself so much and he only reaches out when he remembers that I exist and feels he needs to touch base, to give me the impression that he knows I'm there. That's what I felt but I wonder if it's the case? Hell if I know.

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  7. Great post..I agree. I‘ve learnt the hard way the importance of not having such expectations from other people.

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  8. Friendship... Lol...

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  9. Nkem you know you spoke to me right now. Im working on that healing path and I know for a fact that in my hurt I wounded the person back with words that I cant take back. But I got to a stage where I said its fruitless to continue looking back trying to figure out where it went wrong. Some things really need to be thrown over the shoulder and never be looked at again. Otherwise there's no moving forward. Trust though im finding is much harder to have again even if you let go of the hurt.

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    1. Thanks Wendy. I'm glad the article was useful for you. It was actually a guest post, but I endorse the message :)

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  10. very true.for me i need to stop expectin all my fiends to call me daily. they have their own issues.
    www.secretilies.blogspot.com

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  11. ...and the saga continues. My friend is still tryna find his "miss perfect" and I'm almost convinced that I am she! But it's alright because I won't do anything to open his eyes; he has to see the jewel in the rough that I am!

    Jokes apart, I do have a friend who's waiting for a singer, a worship leader, a scripture/prayer warrior, a light-skinned slender lady, long hair, with an attitude as meek as a dove. All I can say is good luck. If Jesus had a sister I'll introduce him to her.

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  12. Great post, but what happens when what some people may think is an unrealistic expectation you have of your friend is actually in your eyes a reasonably realistic expectation? This is something I am struggling with now and have yet to come to a conclusion as to how to proceed. I know I'm being super vague, but if you have any insight please email me as I am really at a loss for what to do. (mauritzfamily@gmail.com!)

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    1. Thanks Amy. I appreciate. Don't quite understand your question. Maybe you should be more explicit. Thanks.

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  13. Huntly Anabs weldone! your post is a wake up call for me, I think all of us need a reminder like this because not that we don't know somethings but we often forgot that we are not perfect. I know surely know that my level of hurtfulness will be reduced now because I just feel hurt whenever someone couldn't meet my expectation most especially not keeping to time.
    Thank you so much for the thought provoking article.

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  14. Beautiful post and very well written. And I agree, sometimes (and unknowingly), we place so much limitations and requirements of our friends and loved ones, when all we really had to do, was to love them and let them love us.

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  15. Wow!! Thanks guys for your comments!! its really humbly to know to that my article encouraged some of you. I thank Myne specially for endorsing the article. Myne, this means sooooo much to me. You are a blessing. Thank you

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  16. wow.. what a heart wakening post.. had sumtin heavy in my mind but i guess my minds are twisted already after reading this,.. God bless ya all

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  17. Honestly, I believe its ok to have some measure of expectations from those we have relationships with.Loved ones, coleagues, bosses, employees....whatever the relationship, but I guess the key word here is "unrealistic expectations".

    Like Amy said though, who gets to set the standard for this, who gets to say one expectation is realistic and the other is not. I guess thats where open communication comes in.

    As for "loving each others imperfections", lol, I dont know about that o. The hubs has got this one thing that drives me nuts and after 4years, I havent learnt to love it (come to think of it, there's one imperfection of mine he hasn't grown to love either), but I've learnt to breathe in, breathe out and let it go (or just take a walk). I figure, if I and the rest of the family is not in harms way, if it doesnt cause me any form of damage (physical, mental or even emotional), i can let it slide.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post

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  18. "It’s really sad when the people who gave you the best memories become memories themselves." I can clearly relate with this and I'm glad I read this piece. A fresh new perspective to what I thought I knew.

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  19. Why should anyone expect anyone to be without flaws? We are not God!!!! It was not part of God's plan for us to be flawless. We were born in sin. However, we should focus on becoming better individuals, this way, we will know how to handle each other's inadequacies and weaknesses. And, appreciate our strengths in the process. Inward cleansing and positive thinking are very refreshing therefore, therapeutic.

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  20. This just emphasizes that communication is key! I personally feel there's no problem with having somewhat UNREASONABLE expectations from your spouse/partner, as what is reasonable to one person might be unreasonable to the other. The problem comes when you both partners are not on the same page about those expectations.
    Everyone in a relationship should have expectations; reasonable or unreasonable, it doesn't matter. What matters is communication. When you and your partner both talk about your expectations, you can talk about what expectation you think is reasonable /unreasonable and Try to reach a compromise some expectations.

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