Thursday, May 24, 2007

Expectations

I read this yesterday, and had to write it down, I forgot to write down the author, so I cannot give her the credit for it.

It has to do with how we perceive those we love.


"...what we do with the people we love. In large part we make them up, based on past experience. We bring the past into the present, and fail to experience, in any given moment, the people we love unencumbered by our projections."

The author in writing of her own attempts to let past expectations of a loved one go, wrote this regarding seeing her lover each morning......

"There she is, unknown to me...alive, beautiful and brand-new. Most times I fall in love with her again. But then whether I want to or not, I let her go again."


We do it, with all those in our lives, that we have spent any amount of time with, we project our expectations of who we think they are, of how we think they will behave in any given moment.

This brings me back to that certainty we all like to feel. A friend sent me an email the other day, quoting Tony Robbins, and his list of human needs, first listed was Certainty and Comfort. We like some certainties in our lives, it gives a feeling of stability and security. Yet, we also want variety, to provide some spice to life.

Perhaps it is that feeling of comfort we need, when we continually view those we love, with eyes seeing them from the past, instead of the now. I once stated, well, probably more than once, that at their basic inner core, most people do not change, they are who they are.

We do change...life does change us. We change our opinions and/or beliefs, how we behave, our views of the world at large. It all changes over time, and with experience----age does do that to us.

What I am wondering though is, unless it is something soul shattering, are these changes not reflections of our basic personalities, our basic character?

What changes a person makes within themselves usually fit within the boundaries of their basic morals and values, we each determine how far we will allow ourselves to stretch those boundaries. Some may even get stretched so far, and so often that they seem to have completely broken away from them.

But, again I wonder, perhaps those boundaries were not as we perceived them to be? What we see when we look at another's behaviors, is colored by how we think we would behave in a given situation, we perceive from our own boundary lines, and project those onto others. If it is someone we know well, we then use their past behaviors, along with our own expectations of them to project, and expect. Sometimes they don't behave as we expected, and we are surprised. Many times we pass that off as a momentary oddity. Thinking, soon, very soon, they will revert to past behaviors. Many times they do. Sometimes, they don't. It is very difficult to let those old expectations go. Very difficult to continually view those we love as "brand-new" .

In thinking about all of this. I searched my memories of the people who have most influenced my life. All have changed over the years. But when I try to remember them from 30, 20, 10 years ago, even 1 year ago, there is much the same about them. The most telling, or perhaps only the most noticeable to me, are those who had a fairly pessimistic view towards life in general already. I am not sure I can truly articulate what I mean. They seem to be different, as they aged, they perhaps mellowed, but when delving deeper, really examining how I perceive any changes in them, their negative outlooks seem to have become more entrenched, not less.

I then began looking at my own marriage, trying to view my husband brand-new. And, yes, over the past few years in many ways he has changed, as have I.


We each have changed, learned from our experiences, but until recent years, recent months, I saw the young man, and my expectations of his behavior followed that pattern. When I realized that I could no longer predict how he would behave, I remember feeling frightened, realizing that I had lived with that predictability for so long, that being uncertain of how he would behave in any particular situation was unsettling. It still is.

As I tried to really determine how he expects me to behave, he sees the old-me, the me from our many years together. There have been a few instances recently when he has seen me as brand-new. He even mentioned it, rather surprised I think at what he saw. But he also soon reverted back to seeing only the old-me, treating me as the old-me. Not listening to the words I said, not reading my behavior, just viewing me as who he wants to see.

With my making this move, away from him, he is bit unsure of me now, but from what I have been told by others, his expectations regarding me, are that I am going through a momentary oddity, I will revert back to 'who' he expects me to be. He has not learned that he has to "let go of me."

I am very unsure of him. I am trying to live with and accept that uncertainty. Our lives are going in different directions now. Our past history cannot be forgotten, or ignored by me any longer. I have tried. I have spent time with him twice now in the last two weeks. Searching him, searching within me. The "brand-new" man, I attempted to see, the man I let go of, I do not feel love for. I feel sorrow, such deep sorrow, but I could not, and do not find myself falling in love with him. A feeling of loss envelopes me, but I know that my eyes must look forward, face the uncertainties that life is bringing my way, and know, that I will survive them. That he will survive them. I have to hope that.

Some where along the journey of our lives together, we came to a fork in the road, and we each chose the opposite direction. Only, we didn't realize it, we were seeing our expectations of the other, instead of who we really were.



I am not I.

I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.

~Juan Ramon Jiminez~






5 comments:

deb said...

"With my making this move, away from him, he is bit unsure of me now, but from what I have been told by others, his expectations regarding me, are that I am going through a momentary oddity, I will revert back to 'who' he expects me to be."

When my girlfriend told her husband she was leaving him, he expressed the thought that she must have a brain tumor. It was the only way he could explain her behavior. He still doesn't have a clue why she left.

Take care.

Sunny Delight said...

Deb,
Today was our 27th wedding anniversary. He did the expected thing. He sent me a dozen long stemmed roses. They are quite beautiful. But I felt nothing but sadness. Was that what he expected? I don't know, I at first thought of calling him to at least say thank you, but I chickened out. I just couldn't do it.

Even with all of that though, today was a good day. I spent the evening with my two favorite people, my children. And we had a wonderful evening.

Fiona said...

Andy proudly once said in front of a group of people 'She'll never leave me, no matter what I do'....well HA! I proved him wrong, it took a while and it surprised the crap out of him even though by then he'd almost killed me, was wetting the bed coz he was so out of it from booze and kissed other women in front of me, but I did it!

I love the quotes in this post...I've come to read it three times already *S*

Sunny Delight said...

Fi,

You did it! One of the bravest things ever! You faced a future full of uncertainty, but moved on. That strength within you, that you have shared with me, is very important to me......I am so grateful to have you as a friend.

BBGR! HUGS

Steve said...

An amazing post!

my god...you 'get' it...
you have developed such a mature insight, Sunny.

I just commented a couple hours ago on someone else's blog the following...but I think it applies:

this sounds contradictory...
but expect less from others...
and yet, don't ever settle for less.


Like you said, don't expect others to be the same as you project them to be...because of your needs to do so...but, also, don't ever settle for less, based on those projections either!