This isn’t easy. I knew this when I added the goal to my list but it’s become even more apparent over the years.
This ‘goal’ encompasses so many things, by its very nature that I’m not sure that it can ever be truly complete.
What I have managed to do, however, is to approach people in my life with an attitude of radical acceptance and a clean slate – thereby setting no expectations, just enjoying and appreciating them for who they are.
This is never easy or simple – however, it greatly helps that I know the people I can count on unconditionally. It is these people who have never let me down (me = my “small s” self, my ego)... my family would probably be number one here. There are also a very small number of friends whom I count in this group – 2, 3 maximum. But that’s all a person really needs. And I like to think that in these cases, it is not that I have let go of expectations. On the contrary, I have built up expectations based on a very solid foundation of friendship, love, and trust. I know exactly what I can, and should expect of these people, and they never fall short.
It also helps to remember that we are all only human. We are all imperfect, and we make mistakes. We all hurt each other by accident. We are not mind readers, so if you need something, say something – but know who to say it to. Don’t expect your mother, for example, to fulfill your best friend/confidante/social needs because she can’t, much as you like to think she is all those things. Don’t expect your best friend to fulfill your soothing, motherly, caring-for, emotionally protective needs – that’s what your mother is for. Basically, don’t have unreasonable expectations of the people in your life. They are in those roles for a reason and you can’t make them into something they’re not.
Most importantly, be kind – with them, and with yourself :)