Just for the record, that includes you and I.
Heres something I’ve had to learn the hard way… Often, our expectations are just too damn high.
This trait often begins early in life, and develops in a simple enough manner. If we’re fortunate enough to be raised in good families, that are concerned with making sure we turn out to be halfway decent human beings, then we’re taught many things. Social cues, if you will. Some are explicitly taught, and some are implied, or demonstrated through behavior. Things like saying “please” and “thank you.” Being polite. Returning a phone call. Showing concern for others. In general, its the whole “golden rule” thing. The idea that one should treat others the way they would like to be treated. Its a lovely idea, and in a perfect world, would make for a peachy way of living. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ve come to realize by now, life ain’t exactly perfect.
Fairly early in life, the cracks start to show. A parent served you up a punishment that didn’t fit the crime. You encountered your first school yard bully. Hell, maybe you were the bully. A close friend dropped communication with no explanation. The list of these kinds of examples, even early in life, is endless. We become aware fairly quickly that people (ourselves included) don’t always behave in ways that are kind, logical or rational.
As we get older, and move into adulthood, these kinds of problems just compound. People don’t call/text you back. Friends ghost for long periods of time. You’re passed up for a promotion at work. You’re given a speeding ticket while people fly by you. Someone forgot your birthday. Your spouse goes on the warpath over the smallest thing. You pour your heart and soul out to someone, and they’re barely moved. I’m sure you can relate to most, if not all of these things. It happens. A lot. Is it annoying/frustrating? Sure. Heres the thing though…
Most of the things that people do to you, either directly or indirectly, that drive you up the frickin’ wall, you’ve very likely done to them at some point, or at least to many people close to you. We are hyper aware of such actions when they happen to us because we are naturally fairly ego-centric beings. However, we are all too often unaware when we’re dishing out similar treatment to others. Its easy to give ourselves a break because we were tired/hungry/distracted/overwhelmed/bitter/lonely/anxious/depressed/etc. We get a pass because we feel somewhat justified in our actions due to our circumstances. We rarely extend that same courtesy, awareness and benefit of the doubt to others. Some people are amazing at that, but I find the more selfish approach is more of the norm.
People are going to disappoint you. A lot. You’re going to do the same to them. Sometimes its personal, but most of the time its not. Everyone just has their own shit going on, and people fall short and make mistakes. Rarely is it done with malicious intent.
The goal here is not to be a pushover. If you have legit been wronged, then dammit, stand up for yourself! Before you do that though, take a moment to pause, breathe, and consider what could actually be going on. This will improve the quality of your relationships, and transform you into a calmer, peaceful, more joyful person. I guarantee it.
So, remember: People suck sometimes. All of us. Its natural. Just don’t let that fact make your life suck too. 😉
Thanks so much for reading.
Do you do a good job of giving people the benefit of the doubt?
When was a time that you wrongly assumed someone was treating you unfairly?
How did that relationship change once you begin to look at things with a different perspective?
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Thanks again, and have a great weekend!