Aim to be better again

THELMA was busy preparing a sumptuous meal for the whole family right before the clock strikes six. She was expectantly waiting for her husband, mang Celmo, who usually arrives at six-thirty.

That night was extra special because it was their sixth wedding anniversary. The clock struck six-thirty, and then seven, but no husband came.

With a downcasted face, Mang Celmo came home at 10 pm. After kissing Thelma, he told her that he and his friends were invited by a coworker to have a few bottles of beer to discuss things. He then rushed to the bedroom without further noticing the food on the table that Thelma prepared. The rest is history.

Unmet expectations are one of the reasons of relational conflict.

We people have multiple needs that we are born with. Food, shelter, water, and air to breathe are some of the things we need to survive. There are other immaterial things that make us complete such as care, love, opportunity to learn and improve ourselves; a privilege to rest and recreate, and being able to relate with others in different levels of intimacy.

What do you feel when others can’t meet your expectations?

Some of us feel frustrated, irritated, and even insecure as we could not control other people to do what we want. And if we are not aware of our actions, we end up projecting these feelings towards others that could eventually lead to a conflict.

What do you do if others could not meet your expectations?

If you have tried communicating clearly or you have articulated your needs to the other person, and he or she is not willing or could not meet your expectations because he or she has valid reasons, don’t sulk. And instead, move on.

Here are some ideas on how to move on gracefully:
1) Practice empathy
Empathy is trying to put yourself in others’ shoes. When we try to understand others’ backgrounds and contexts from their own perspective, we will be more accepting and forgiving. In contrast, when we are just thinking about ourselves, how to meet our needs, without considering the plight of the other person who has needs as well, we become self-centered. Nobody wants to be with a self-centered person.

2) Have the sense of proper perspective of control
I don’t mean you need to be manipulative of others to get what you want. How you look at who controls your own happiness (or meeting your needs) is the point of the focus of control. If you keep on depending or expecting too much from others, while you know that they could not meet them all, you will end up disappointed. A proper perspective of control is when you are able to learn to accept the limitations of others and know that other people are not responsible for your own happiness but yourself.

3) Be reflective and Creative
A personal reflection on what is going on in your inner self and how it affects others is an important practice in having emotional intelligence. Be honest to identify your own needs and validate them and accept that others could not meet them the way you wanted them to be. Learn to be creative on how you can meet your needs in acceptable and ethical ways, and you will be surprised by how effective creativity can be.

Remember God provides people for us to love and enjoy their company. Often, God uses them to meet our needs, although not all. Accepting the reality of meeting and not meeting all our expectations and being responsible for our own happiness could lessen relational conflicts.

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