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Monday, October 25, 2010

Not So Great Expectations

      They call it the "Golden Rule." I actually think its Biblical in origin, but everyone, regardless of creed, seems to spout it even if they don't live by it. I think they teach you this when they hand out crayons in nursery school. It sounds good in theory, but essentially its flawed. Or slightly tarnished at best.... and since gold is highly un-reactive I think we should call it the "Gold-Plated Rule."  You see, I have always been overly sensitive to other people's emotions. Empathic actually. So much so that I become obsessive if I sense I have hurt or even insulted someone. So I do unto others as I would have done unto myself.  The problem arises when I do unto others with the EXPECTATION that they will do the same unto me. This is when people disappoint. My husband and I try to go out of our way for the people we love. We call. We go. We invite. We listen. We buy. We donate. We do. Just ask; we're there. Don't ask; we'll still be there. We give and give and give. We really try to be the best friends, children, siblings, and parents that we could possibly be.  And often we look at each other and say. "What the hell is wrong with us?" "Why do we give give give and So-and-so doesn't seem to even give us a second thought." He'll say, "I'm tired of being the only one to call. The phone works both ways." I'll say, "I always worry about her and she doesn't even give me a second thought." And we become disillusioned. We feel like an after-thought. And the reality is that we often ARE the afterthought for many of the people we love so dearly.  

Why so cynical you ask? That's not like you, Meliss! Where are your rose-colored glasses today? Did someone make your glass half empty? 

     I'm not being cynical. This is the reality of life. One of the toughest lessons that I've learned over the years is that you can only account for your own behavior. I cannot always expect to get the same level of love and commitment back from other people that I offer. And the reason for this is that not everyone is capable of making the sacrifices that we make. Some people are, and I am always humbled when they reach out and show their love for me. When friends call or visit or go out of their way for us, I am so moved and give thanks for the blessing of their friendship. But I have come to have low expectations of people. These days I take what I can get when it comes to love. Some people I know have never experienced the level of love we are willing to give them. They do not reciprocate because they are simply not emotionally equipped to do so. Does that mean they love me less than I love them? No. People learn what they live. If they haven't been shown real unconditional love, how can you expect them to show it? You can only expect people to give what they are comfortable with and nothing more. I have come to a point in my life where I have not so great expectations. I do unto others with NO expectation that they will do the same unto me. I do what I do simply because I do. I know what's right, and I know what sacrifices I am capable of. So I give the most I can in whatever way I can. With no expectations. In the end I know when I did the right thing, and ultimately I believe that it all comes back to me (three-fold actually). So maybe sometimes I make myself the door-mat....or maybe I make myself the example. Either way, I have to believe that the love I send out is not being lost or wasted. And sometimes it's really hard to swallow my pride and let go of my giant ego. But if I have less than great expectations, I never can  be disappointed..... in myself or you.
 Sending love out to you.....always!

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