There can often be this unrealistic expectation placed on relationships to provide the love and nurture lacked in childhood, previous relationships, etc. Relationships used to fill a void are often handled carelessly and viewed as disposable — especially in the era of “cancel culture.” So why choose someone who can’t give you the relationship, love and attention you feel you deserve?
Often there is a misconstrued ideology of self-worth — as if it stops with you. And at times it’s hard to realize when you are placing value in self and actually removing value from those who don’t live up to your unrealistic expectations. It’s detrimental because it can be awhile before you even notice the damage that is done to your relationships.
Relationships are a tough balancing act and they certainly aren’t one-sided. In addition, relationships go through many seasons. There will be seasons when you are together 24/7, and there will be seasons where you barely see each other but know those short text conversations are the most heartfelt and genuine. The reality is maintaining positive relationships are important, as they often lead to success in many areas. People can connect you to other people, ideas and opportunities — but if your relationship is not on the right path, all that goes out the window. Truthfully, all people matter in the relationship — and they all are valuable and deserving.
Let’s just face it: relationships aren’t for us to control — just as much as people aren’t ours to control. We determined that officially on Juneteenth 1865. I also love and live by Lauren London’s quote about Nipsey Hussle, “You can’t possess people, you experience them.” This is the greater understanding that all relationships are an experience we are just within — we can’t control it. It is merely impossible to control what the other person/people in the relationship are going through, how they respond and how it affects us — we just simply experience it.
What we do with those experiences is what makes or breaks the relationship. Are we being mindful and understanding of the experience? Or are we weighing the experience to our misconstrued ideology of our individual value? Are we extending grace and understanding in our relationships? Or are we being detrimental to relationships due to not meeting unrealistic expectations?
We know that all relationships aren’t worth salvaging. Sometimes, we outgrow people, places and things. We’ve all been there. It certainly can be traumatic to end relationships, which can in turn cause us to develop these certain ideologies or expectations. However, do we truly want to operate in hypervigilance, preventing beautiful relationships due to past experiences? Operating out of fear is a mindset, and with work it can be shifted.
Below are some ways I began shifting my mindset, to become more mindful in my relationships. It helps me release the unnecessary expectations that I not only put on others, but myself. It has not only been beneficial to my relationships, but has aided in my personal journey of healing and understanding as well.
They don’t call and check on me.
This is the one right here. I’m sure we’ve all used this sentence in our lifetime. And nine times out of 10 it has been an excuse to why we’ve canceled someone in our life.
When we are going through it, we innately have an overwhelming feeling of fear/loneliness. That experience alone makes you feel less valuable. Add in those who you felt didn’t call or care during that time and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Being mindful, I had to understand we all are facing individual challenges in life. I also had to think about how I handle my challenging experiences — and guess what, I don’t enlist others into my struggle. I’m not making calls, sending texts, etc. I tap out, and I had to be mindful that could be happening to the people in my relationships as well. You never truly know what your friend or family member is going through. And during the times you are going through it, you truly don’t know because you certainly won’t be doing the reaching out.
Be mindful. People are fighting their own battles. And just like you, they are the last thing on your mind during a crisis.
They contacted me last minute about this. They really didn’t want me there or care if I came.
Most people probably don’t want to go anyway. (I know I’m guilty.) So, this is a great cop out. We have something pre-planned, or we have nothing planned and just don’t feel like being around people. I get it.
We are good at convincing ourselves we don’t care. On the other hand, we begin to build a wall because obviously they don’t value you or your presence. They literally invited you at the last minute.
Being mindful, I had to understand, sometimes you just don’t have the bandwidth. Juggling a million and one things, in addition to relationships is hard. As a full-time mom, wife and employee, I forget things from sun up to sun down. The reality is I must extend myself grace whenever I truly forget something and it affects those around me. So, why am I not doing that for others?
Trust me, if you’ve been remembered, it’s because you’re important — whether it’s the day before or the day of. Be mindful that people are trying to keep up with life best as they can, just as you are.
They knew about this news before me? I thought we were closer than that!
This right here always gives a false ideology of where we rank in importance. It’s like we have this idea that everyone has created this list of who is important and they go down that list to relay important information. It reminds me of the phone tree from the movie ‘Practical Magic’, and we all know sis showed us what a joke that was, right?
We convince ourselves we aren’t worthy of the news and create our imaginary placement in their lives. This of course means they don’t value our worth or opinion. Obviously, we are outranked.
Being mindful, I learned that sometimes you aren’t privy to all things. Let’s be honest, we compartmentalize relationships and there are things we share accordingly as well. Everyone is certainly not knowledgeable of all that I do. Why would I expect that from them?
Knowing your role in relationships is important. Also, understand that you are not where you place yourselves in other people’s lives. Be mindful: just as you don’t want them placing themselves willingly in your life, they deserve the same respect.
Being mindful is work — it’s consistent re-direction and checking yourself within these experiences. We know that emotions can often cloud our judgement and cause us to make decisions out of haste. Slow down in those moments, detach yourself from the cloud of emotions and allow yourself to be mindful of the experience to better understand. This allows you to extend more grace, compassion and understanding to your relationships — a benefit to all.