what did you expect?

Today we ask that you let go of your expectations about other people.

Many people experience a lot of suffering because they feel let down, hurt, or betrayed by other people.  For some, their whole lives get wrapped up in their grievances, in the ways other people have disappointed and hurt them.

And it is true that sometimes humans do terribly destructive things.  This isn’t meant to dismiss or minimize anyone’s experience of trauma.

However, there is a lot of unnecessary suffering caused by disappointed expectations.  This is really about the smaller, everyday grievances and betrayals people experience.

“So-and-so shouldn’t have done that to me.  They should have known better.  I would never treat someone else that way.”

This kind of thinking really is not very useful at all.

It is kind of like getting angry at a baby for crying, or at a child for making a mess with food.  It is like getting angry at a dog for barking, or a cat for meowing.

To say “someone should know better” is a bit silly.  Obviously they don’t know better.

If you consider yourself a paragon of virtuous behavior, that is wonderful.

Do you know how you can extend your virtue?

By being patient and tolerant with other people.

Stop trying to fix people.  Stop wishing they were different.  A dog is a dog, a cat is a cat.

With all that energy you expend being frustrated with other people, you could teach yourself to be more patient and tolerant.

What do you think you’ll have better luck with?

Getting someone else to change his ways?

Or working on yourself to expand your patience and acceptance?

If you wish other people to be more virtuous, the best way to do this is to be a good role model.

The parent who screams at a child to behave is only teaching the child that screaming is an acceptable way to solve problems.

Whenever you think: “So-and-so should be more something,” whatever that something is: nicer, more generous, more communicative, more responsible, etc.

Just teach yourself to do whatever that thing is.  You be nicer, more generous, more communicative, more responsible, etc.  And you can start with the person against whom you have a grievance.

Have high expectations of others, and you are in for terrible, continual disappointment and suffering.

Just work on yourself.