Time and time again I get caught in emotional gridlock due to expectations and assumptions made either by me of others or by others of me. Expectations are the worst! They are a sure fire way to suck enjoyment out of most situations and ruin otherwise perfectly pleasant interactions and relationships.
The biggest problem is that we are human. There is no perfect way to communicate; there are no perfect words. We don't come with directions and neither does any one else in the world. We stumble along our paths, bumping recklessly into each other hoping we don't bruise each other or ourselves too badly in the process. We can't help our messiness.
There is a verse from the Tao Te Ching that states "The skillful traveler leaves no tracks." What a beautiful image to remind us how we all can aim to be more skillful in our lives! It is a reminder that it is possible to skillfully navigate our way through the world-- not just toward the environment but toward each other. When we interact with each other we often leave behind a residue that they carry with them and that we carry with us from that point on. The messier our interactions the thicker and more toxic the residue becomes. If only we could act with such clarity, respect, patience and non-attachment, that we didn't leave behind our nasty residue on each other.
But, unfortunately, it takes practice, and, in the best of cases, we will only ever be one half of a relationship. When we have unvoiced expectations of each other, we are brewing a our toxic soup of emotions. We are setting ourselves up for crisis, and, when we are unclear about what others can expect from us, then we are giving them an opportunity to brew their special blend of resentment, hurt, disappointment, fear, anger, jealousy or embarrassment.
We can't avoid all misunderstandings, but the clearer we communicate our needs to others and the more clearly we establish our boundaries in what they can expect from us, we increase our chances of avoiding total disaster.
And, when the occasional disaster strikes, we do what we can to mediate with compassion so we can move forward and try again.
Read more of the Dancing Poetess here:
I want to write gooder
Did you make your bed today?