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!
He who is without sin……
If you didn’t know the rest of that phrase I would be surprised, because even if you weren’t raised hearing it, someone around you probably used it a time or two. Along with judge not!
In the past I had quite an aversion to this. Judgment seemed warranted much of the time, and quite frankly I was quite good at it! Really! I could find anyone’s faults and point them out in the most creative (Alright, and nasty!) ways!
I talked last week about John Gottman and his study that more than proved judgment was not a productive tool in relationships. And when I share this on an almost daily basis with my clients, they respond as I did initially, with the look that says, “Seriously! Are you kidding me?)
Let’s face it. There is always some fault to point out in someone. But in doing so we open ourselves up to having each and every flaw we posses pointed out and perhaps magnified. And judging does not open another’s heart or ears to what we could say or do to help them learn and grow.
I attribute my success with the highly oppositional youth I work with to my having learned this. I look for the good in them. I understand that who they are is a result of life and experience and losses. I ask myself if I would be any different had I walked in their shoes. Most importantly, I remember how I acted as an adolescent. In fact, I can take you decade by decade through my life and point out how I was not that different from anyone else. Struggling to learn and find peace and control. Learning from too many experiences and failures.
So when you want to point the finger ask yourself,
- Am I without flaws?
- Would the flaws I have overcome have left me if not for someone accepting me for who I am and lovingly leading me?
- How might I feel different if I accept someone for who they are, and how would that change my ability to act differently and promote growth in their life?
Let me know if you have experienced either side of this!