Recently, it was brought to my attention that I have exceedingly unrealistic expectations of how the world should behave! I have known this for some time, but was unable to really pin down why I am like this and have always been obsessed with fairness and justice. Part of why this is so important is because I am never seeing the world as it is; instead, I am always hoping or expecting the world to be different. By doing this, I am setting myself up for disappointment at every turn.
Because I have no control over others, I cannot simply wish their behavior to change and take it personally when it does not; however, this is how I have been living for many years. What I have discovered is profound: I have been handed (by virtue of the affluence which I was born into) a very easy, safe and comfortable life. I feel entitled to be treated as I treat others no matter what - this is my ego going strong; I am trying to control the outcome of every situation so that I remain feeling at ease, safe and comfortable. When something goes against what I believe should be happening, I am deeply disappointed and struggle with trying to make sense of this betrayal perpetrated on me.
All of this comes down to one huge piece of my puzzle:
Fundamentally, I did not grow up liking or loving myself for me. I learned to people please and as such, was only validated from the outside in. Although this was a manipulation of others, it was also terribly misleading for me. I became dependent on things outside of myself to validate every part of my being. If I had loved myself and knew this at the core of my being, I could experience any injustice but know that it was never about me personally! I could see the weakness in the other person, but let it go because it was never about me. Instead, I would replay the scene over and over again in my head and try to understand why things did not go my way. I would have conversations in my head trying to figure out how to convince someone to see things my way and validate me by doing this.
I have been held hostage by this my entire life. I believed early on that anothers bad behavior was purposely aimed at me and I took it personally; I was convinced that if I were more worthy or valuable, this unfair or unjust situation would never be part of my world. I lived in a constant state of let down, disappointment, and sadness for myself due to my proven unlovability.
My wise friend (who I am just getting to know) learned at an early age that another person's bad behavior was not going to define or undermine him! This bad behavior illustrated their weaknesses and nothing about him. What a beautiful gift! To know yourself so deeply and with such reverence that you can allow others to be exactly who they are going to be and it is ok, because you are enough!
Additionally, because my friend is enough and values himself, he does not overeat or drink to excess or engage in any behavior that is self destructive! Can you imagine? Eating properly and exercising properly not because someone tells you that it is good for you, but because you celebrate yourself on such a high level that you cannot behave differently! This just boggles the mind in the Western world and isn't that sad?
Many in our society earn distinction and celebrity by being more and more self-destructive in entertaining ways. We celebrate and pay respects to those young artists who have died early after abusing their body, mind and spirit. Of all things, to show respect to someone who did not value themselves enough to treat their beautiful and awesome being with the highest regard.
Along with expectations, entitlement goes ego or arrogance. We believe our way is correct and part of our entitlement or higher purpose. How dare we decide what others must feel, do or say! This is so prevalent in affluent areas, but we assign this entitlement mentality to those in poorer situations as if to deflect from what we know is true of ourselves. How many times have we thought that someone does not deserve to collect welfare or subsidy because we know better how to help them? Maybe we have a theory, but what makes us the one who knows exactly what their situtation requires?
So what is the answser? I believe in my case it is focusing on learning how to love myself so fully that I do not have any voids within me. From this point of personal strength, I am then no longer concerned with what others do or do not do as they cross paths with me. I am only taking care of myself and that is job enough.
Additionally, as I take care of myself by loving and respecting who I am, I can treat others as I wish to be treated but not expect to be treated. Instead, I do this free and clear of ANY expectation that I must or should receive the same. I give openly without expectation of anything in return and that is enough for me. Instead of attaching an expectation of entitlement which could end in disappointment, I stay in the perfection of the moment where I am fully alive and present, offering love to another because that is reward in itself - this is what I celebrate now without needing any assurance of what the future will bring or living in any fear of what the past was about.
I am free!