Last week I talked about John Gottman and began to touch on his predictors for successful relationships. As I do with everything, I over simplified and broke it down, talking about how those who learn to put aside judgment have greater success. This week we will talk about expectations.
When I was told having expectations was counter productive I wanted to scream. I blame my mother for this! (Sorry Mom!) My Mother had rules. She still does. There is a right way and wrong way to do most things. Actually, this isn’t all bad. But in the area of relationships it comes off hitting two of Gottman’s other points. Being judgmental and acting superior is also a block to successful relationships.
Well, after I finished throwing a hissy fit I decided I would have to try this out. Despite the fact that at my core I am a whiny little bitch, I generally can put it aside and respond. Those of you who have loyally followed my posts will see that this may seem redundant. Anyone can do anything they want! That’s it. I cannot expect them to follow my rules, nor should they have to. If I don’t like it all I can do is state what I require and make clear what will happen if they do, or do not give me what I require. Yes, those are boundaries!
Try it out this week! If what you are going to say is…
- If you are acting Superior
- If you have expectations
STOP! THINK! REPHRASE!
But what if they won’t agree to my boundaries?
Set it anyway. Others will avoid setting a boundary that addresses both of your needs because it creates mutual accountability. With mutual accountability all we are left with is accepting that we will, or will not choose to follow the rules!
In order to get someone on board with the boundaries, you may very well have to cause them just a bit of pain. It could be as simple as they have no clean underwear because you said if it was not in the hamper it wouldn’t get done. Or you didn’t make dinner because the dishes from yesterday remained in the sink.
- So here’s your call to action:
- Sit back and let the boundary play out.
- Don’t be surprised that the boundary is not followed.
- Stick to your guns!
- Stay calm and matter of fact, not judging the recipient of your boundary, rather enforcing the boundary.
- And get ready to repeat (and repeat, and repeat), “I’m sorry, was I not clear!”