Author Topic: Expectations and Acceptance  (Read 7230 times)

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justdontunderstand

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Expectations and Acceptance
« on: October 12, 2010, 07:59:15 AM »
I am having trouble with understanding the recurring theme I read of “letting go of expectations” and embracing “acceptance”. Here is what is confusing to me. I expect things every day. I expect that if I don’t brush and floss, my teeth might fall out. I expect that if I don’t stop at a red light, I might have an accident. I expect that if I were to punch someone for butting in the grocery line that I would get punched back (and likely arrested for assault  :-[).  On the other hand, I expect that if I smile, someone will smile back. I expect that if I treat someone with kindness most of the time they will return the kindness.

 As to acceptance, if I accept the unpleasantness in life, how does anything ever change? If I accept that cruelty exists or poverty or just plain old rudeness, is that just inviting it to never change? I hope this doesn’t sound too simplistic because I know human behavior is very complex but how do you live without expectation and acceptance of the things that are difficult in your life? If you don’t have expectations doesn’t that mean you don’t have hope either? If you have acceptance isn’t that just a form of defeat?  I really look forward to your thoughts.

LaurieS

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 08:03:26 AM »
Seems pretty logical to me.  But I'm sure others will have a books worth of opposing views. 

erma

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 08:16:37 AM »
hello just don't understand,
for me, the dreaded "E" word is bs. if none of us had any "expectations" and we all had "acceptance" this site wouldn't be here and neither would ANY of us. all we can do is realize we cannot change people.  people change themselves.  a friend of mine once told me, when we were conversing about a mutual friend who'd "changed" in our opinion, she said, "you'd never lose another friend if you "excepted" the fact "people change"
hows that for a quote!
true, but i still don't like the dreaded "E" word
 ;)

Offline Miss Understood

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 08:26:11 AM »
My DH uses the phrase all the time, "when you learn to accept it..." I say accept what? What is there to accept? That my DS and DIL hate me/us, that they are selfish, that they are dillutional (I can go on with a million ideas) How can one accept that....especially when I birthed him and raised him. THEN....
He says it in a way with out words. Then I realize after 4.5 months of this. I have accepted that not everyone is like me and just because I have expectations which is how I treat people....doesn't mean that they will treat me the same way.
So...Ladies, maybe this will help you...it has helped me.
I have high expectations for myself and for only myself and I accept that I am a wonderful person, mother, wife, etc. In all of my life those things are the only TRUE expectations and acceptance that really count. In a perfect world, if everyone were like me/us and followed our expectations and we accepted that they were going to do that....we would only be lying to ourselves.
This was the hardest lesson I had to learn for myself. Now I give myself a break if I don't live up to my own expectations and I accept that I am human and can make mistakes or not be so perfect.
 :)

cremebrulee

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 08:34:58 AM »
I am having trouble with understanding the recurring theme I read of “letting go of expectations” and embracing “acceptance”. Here is what is confusing to me. I expect things every day. I expect that if I don’t brush and floss, my teeth might fall out. I expect that if I don’t stop at a red light, I might have an accident. I expect that if I were to punch someone for butting in the grocery line that I would get punched back (and likely arrested for assault  :-[).  On the other hand, I expect that if I smile, someone will smile back. I expect that if I treat someone with kindness most of the time they will return the kindness.

 As to acceptance, if I accept the unpleasantness in life, how does anything ever change? If I accept that cruelty exists or poverty or just plain old rudeness, is that just inviting it to never change? I hope this doesn’t sound too simplistic because I know human behavior is very complex but how do you live without expectation and acceptance of the things that are difficult in your life? If you don’t have expectations doesn’t that mean you don’t have hope either? If you have acceptance isn’t that just a form of defeat?  I really look forward to your thoughts.

you don't live without expectations, that would be giving up your own dreams....however, you don't have expectations of others, except, do unto others, and hope they comply....many don't....

I remember when my son got married, me, dumb as I was, thought nothing would change, that now, I've have a son and a daughter and everything would remain the same....and I'd still be mom, and leader....and would enjoy teaching my DIL everything I knew...gain a daughter and she would love and respect me as much as my son did....my son always loved me unconditionally, regardless...as every son does...

However, he got married, and this new love in his life, didn't want a mother, didn't want to compromise her traditions, and already had a mother and now also has a huge family from his father's side, including a step mom and 3 additional step brothers and sister...so, here's this young woman, coming into my life, and the life of everyone else on my son's side, all beside herself, and expected to live up to all of our expectations.....the phone calls, the family holiday dinners, the gifts, the unannounced visits....and all of us giving her advice....sheeesh, she was overwhelmed....and thinking, "What about my expectations of what a marriage and extended family should be?" 

Here is another example, when two people marry, they each have expectations of what a marriage should be, and if one can't give more then the other, those expecations become dust and expectations can set one or both mates up to fail....b/c his expectations of what he thought a marriage should be, are not nearly what yours are.....

so, expecations are good, when it comes to stuff like, what we want our lives to be when we're 60...however, when it involves others, they're expectations are not the same....and we're really set back b/c they are not....

we learn from our mistakes....big time....some of us never do, and some learn the very first time, but if it wouldn't be for the bad times in our lives, how would we know true happiness and joy, even if only fleeting....

Acceptance is:

when a person agrees to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

Acceptance as a concept appears in Eastern religious concepts such as Buddhist mindfulness, and in human psychology. Religions and psychological treatments often suggest the path of acceptance when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk. Acceptance may imply only a lack of outward, behavioral attempts at possible change, but the word is also used more specifically for a felt or hypothesized cognitive or emotional state.

In other words, it is what it is....

We as human beings are extremely impatient, and we want what we want when we want it....however, when we dont' get our ways, even if some don't agree with us, we act out, like children....really we do....some more then others, some not so much, but we don't like it when we are told we can't do this or that, especially women, b/c we're so used to taking the lead....and we're all controlling to some degree....

I don't know if that explains it or not...whatever works for you....for me, it has worked....

you cannot give up expectations, that would be giving up your identity, your dreams, desires...but to have expecations of others, sets them up to fail you...other then of course, respect, which needs to work both ways, and to be treated kindly, etc.


justdontunderstand

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 08:58:27 AM »
Creme,
I read your post with great interest. "It is what it is" is something I say to myself almost like a meditation mantra at times. My intelligence understands it but my heart does not follow. My heart keeps saying, "how can this be?" My heart wants to find a solution that we all can live with without sacrificing who we are as people.

I don't want my DIL to essentially change who she is to meet my expectations of a DIL. I just want her to realize that we are most likely not who she thinks we are (ie. either inconsequential or worse--- unworthy of a place in the new family). I want a chance.


cremebrulee

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 09:14:08 AM »
Creme,
I read your post with great interest. "It is what it is" is something I say to myself almost like a meditation mantra at times. My intelligence understands it but my heart does not follow. My heart keeps saying, "how can this be?" My heart wants to find a solution that we all can live with without sacrificing who we are as people.

I don't want my DIL to essentially change who she is to meet my expectations of a DIL. I just want her to realize that we are most likely not who she thinks we are (ie. either inconsequential or worse--- unworthy of a place in the new family). I want a chance.

I know, I know, believe me, everything you have said here I've gone thru and felt....however, now I don't feel like I've sacrificed anything....you will eventually, get to a point, where you will grow and realize, how utterly small some of these issues are...and when I heard my DIL say to me, "Gosh, I'm glad you told me about that, b/c I don't want to hurt anyone else's feelings"....then I said to her, "don't change for me...now that I know this is you and not a personal attack because you don't like me, I can accept who you are.....but only change if you want to change, not for me." 

You will go thru the same changes when it's time, or at least, I hope like heck you do and DIL gives your feelings validation as you will do hers...it's really funny, not really, but for a lack of words, it's funny, how immediately, I forgot everything and was so thankful to have it made right, that nothing else mattered, not my pride, and I realized, I changed for the better...and wasn't giving me up at all....I feel better about myself now...much more confident....and believe me, when I read everyone's stories, they are different but so much alike, if that makes any sense?

Not everyone changes, people don't always change.....don't believe it...some people never progress and grow...they stagnate in they're own little protective plastic bubbles they've created for themselves, b/c they feel safe there, b/c they hate change, and that is what is unhealthy....you heard the saying a leapord doesn't change they're spots...well, believe you me, I got in a lot of trouble and hurt, b/c I believed people do change....people only change if they want to so bad it hurts....and with this DIL thing, you or should I say, I got to a point where I was sick of it, I wanted change so bad I could taste it, and I realized, I had to be the one who changed....and if it's fake, or insincere, they're going to feel it right away....it's gotta truly be what you want...



« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 09:19:05 AM by cremebrulee »

Offline Scoop

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 10:27:50 AM »
Here's the story I tell about expectations.

It was my Dad's 60th birthday party.  My Mom did not have any alcoholic beverages, because my Dad and many of his friends don't drink.  My cousin's husband came in and (when offered a choice of beverages) said "I should have known that I wouldn't be offered a beer in this house, I should have brought my cooler!"  My Dad was SO MAD about that comment.

Now here's the thing, this cousin's husband, he's a jerk.  He's cocky and rude and he doesn't know how to act in polite company.  But, he doesn't talk about you behind your back, what you see is what you get: a JERK.

So when my parents told us this story, my brother turned to my Dad and said "YOU were wrong."  And we were all sort of shocked at his statement, but then he followed up with "This guy is a jerk.  We all know he's a jerk.  If you expect him to act like anything other than a jerk, then YOU are wrong."  Wow, that was really powerful for us.

I've also had to change my expectations about my MIL.  She wasn't a good parent, she DOESN'T have it IN HER to be a good grandparent.   It helped me to ACCEPT her actions, because I realized that she wasn't INTENTIONALLY slighting my DD.  She can't be a better Gma, because she doesn't know how.

We've also come to accept my SIL (DB's wife).  She is completely different from us.  It's her nature, her culture, her personality.  We can't expect her to BE anyone else.  We don't have to love it.  But we know we can't change it.  And we want to spend time with DB and the DN's.  So we put up with SIL.

You can expect anything you want, but if your expectations aren't met and you get in a funk over it, then you're only hurting yourself.  If you're a family of pigs you enjoy rolling in the mud, well what if your DS marries a cat?  If you expect the cat to roll in the mud, you're crazy.  If you're going to get all bent out of shape and insulted if the cat refuses to roll in the mud, you're only hurting yourself. 

LaurieS

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 10:56:52 AM »
You can't change who someone is, and you're right if you 'expect' to you're in for a rude awakening.... but you can expect that had a beer been handed to this cousin's husband that he would say thanks.  I don't think many are expecting to change people just common  courtesy.

My middle son is kinda/sorta engaged to a Japanese girl... wonderful girl, but whew talk about a different culture.. I struggle at times not fully understanding when she speaks of her parents and their expectations for her. Now the way I'm grasping it, these are not suggestions but demands, but then again I'm not of a Japanese mind set. My son meanwhile had lived and studied in Japan for 2 years, so he is more open to their way of viewing their relationship with their daughter.  Those two will have their own struggles, but as I told them.. if you love each other enough, you'll make it work.

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2010, 11:05:46 AM »
I accept that if I don't clean my teethe..they will fall out. That is about me and in my realm of influence. If others don't clean their teeth and they fall out...that is about them and their lesson to learn. I accept the toothless smile. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

justus

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2010, 01:40:12 PM »
For me, the issue is attachment. The Buddhists believe that the origin of all suffering is attachment. I would go further to say that it is our attachment to our expectations that is the origin of suffering.

We all have expectations of other people, but unless we spell out those expectations and the other person agrees to comply, we cannot be upset that our expectations have been disappointed. After all, they are OUR expectations, we are responsible to ourselves for having them. The other person didn't force them on us, we forced them on the other person. As long as we are attached to those expectations, and emotionally invested in them happening, we will be hurt when they don't happen and that is our fault, and not the other person's fault. At some point, we all have to pull on our big girl pants and be responsible for our own feelings.

I am not saying that all expectations are bad to have. I expected that my DH would be faithful to me. When he was having an emotional affair, he pulled out the Buddhist attachment card in order to bully me into accepting his affair. He said, "If you didn't have a problem with this, it wouldn't be a problem." I agreed and told him that I did have a problem, it was my problem, I owned it, but it was a reasonable problem to have. If he could not meet my expectations of faithfulness, then we needed to see a lawyer because I would be moving on one way or another. But, that is between me and my H in our M. In an M, there is a sort of emotional contract between two people. This does not exist between a DIL and PILs (Parents-in-law). Too often, PILs expect the emotional contract they have with their child to extend to his spouse, or they have some unspoken contract they assume the new IL will or has agreed to, and this is unreasonable. They expect the DIL to blend seamlessly into the family. They have optimistic ideas of what this new addition will be without taking into account that the DIL and her family have expectations as well.

I read on here and other boards about people reaching out to their DIL or MIL time after time trying to become friends or "bring them into the family," and being rejected time after time. I can understand being hurt the first couple of times, but after that it is on you. She doesn't want or is incapable of the kind of relationship you want with her so leave the poor woman alone. YOU are in the wrong for pushing your expectations off on her. The whole whiny, "But, she is pushing her expectations on meeeee," doesn't fly because you are not responsible for what she does, but for your own actions. My Dad used to ask me if all of my friends were jumping off of a cliff, would I? She may never change, but so what? Not a darned thing you can do about it. You can whine and complain, or you can grow up, let it go and figure out how to live with it. Accept that she does not have the same expectations and modify your own. Grieve over what you can't have, but then stop with the drama and histrionics and move on. You are only hurting yourself by holding on to expectations that are not going to be met. You can either continue to chose to put yourself in the way of more hurt, or you can change what you expect to be closer to what she can or is willing to give.

You are the only person you can change.

Once we are hurt, then we have a tendency to attach ourselves to those feelings of hurt. We are the victim and we can play the victim as long as we hold onto those feelings. And, we feel like the victim because we don't understand what is going on. We were just going along being our normal selves only to be kicked in the teeth. We don't understand what we did wrong, maybe we didn't do anything wrong, maybe we just mis-stepped a bit without realizing it, maybe we were simply mis-understood and were never given a chance to explain ourselves, maybe the other person assumed the worst and we were never given the chance to prove we were better than that. So, what? Their misunderstanding is not personal, their mistreatment is not personal, it is all about them. They have shown you who they are, so move on. Feel hurt and all that jazz, then let it go and move on. You only hurt yourself by holding onto the hurt, anger and pain. How you feel beyond the first little bit is no one's fault but your own, not to mention  the hurt gets in the way of understanding and forgiveness. If I was unable to let go of the hurt my DH dealt me, our M would have failed and it would have been as much my fault as his.

I am not talking about your DIL asking you for forgiveness. I learned long ago that forgiveness is all about me. I have forgiven some pretty bad things without being asked because to do otherwise was to poison myself. For me, a big part of forgiveness is letting go of the pain because it is the healthy thing to do FOR ME. There are some people who will never even acknowledge they did me wrong. Doesn't matter, that is on them and I cannot do anything about that. I can only take responsibility for my own choices. Not forgiving makes one bitter and petty. That is not the kind of person I want to be.

I am sorry if I am being harsh. Part of it is because I am preaching to myself. I am in a situation with my boss right now in which you could replace "DIL" with "crazy boss" and you would understand the position I am in. I have lived this from both the MIL, the DIL and the married child perspective. Even though my Mom and MILs showed me how not to be an MIL, I still got caught up in being right. When I got perspective and let go of all of those slights, things got much better. Not ideal, but better. Once I stopped focusing on what was wrong in the relationship, a lot of things when right, and I was able to nurture the parts of my life I had neglected because I was too busy being a victim. Remember that they are just kids still figuring out what it is to be married/adult/a parent and they need our understanding. The waters they are navigating are much more treacherous than the waters we are in. We only have a SIL or DIL to contend with, while she has her ILs, her family, and her DH to try and please.  She is going through a lot of change. She is in the process of understanding what a reasonable expectation is while trying to meet everyone else's. Is it any wonder she is failing to meet yours? We only have one person to fit into our family while she is trying to form a family with her DH, plus helping him acclimate to her family, and trying to know what his family is all about. And, then you throw a kid in the mix. It is crazy making at its worst. Add to this that not all people have healthy coping mechanisms, lets face it, most people don't have healthy coping mechanisms to help them deal with all of this stuff all at once. Give her a break, she needs one.

I have no idea how to end this and it is long enough. I know many of you are hurt, but you chose to be hurt. I chose to let my boss hurt me. You can forgive, let go of the pain and accept things the way they are, or you can continue to be hurt and miserable. You chose.

erma

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2010, 02:58:38 PM »
AAAHHH, the ole "victim" scheme. i remember that game.  ::) LOL......      anywho,   my lil brother, (god rest his soul) studied Buddhism, taught me alot . his was a wise and old soul i believe...... I use alot of what he taught to move forward, and not to 'attach" myself to long to a "feeling, grudge, problem,  misunderstanding...." but that's it. i am attached to my family, kids, DH, my animals, friends, ect...  but attached to an expectation? what is an expectation really? i believe its a feeling we have at the moment. so if i change, the situation changes, or any dynamic changes, so does the "expectation" and that would mean the "attachment to the expectation" would change as well. just thinkin....................

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 04:31:28 PM »
I like the question: Do you want to right or do you want to be happy?
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

justdontunderstand

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2010, 04:44:42 PM »
I think the discussion of Buddhism brought into expectations/acceptance and individual responsibility for one’s own emotions (and suffering) is an interesting one. I am no Buddhist scholar but one of the things that troubles me about the Buddhist idea that suffering is self inflicted seems to ignore “other induced” suffering/distress. Slavery is one example  of “other induced” suffering/distress.  I cannot, accept that everyone is responsible for their own suffering in every situation. Sometimes suffering is caused by others.  There are, in fact, true victims and not all victimization is self inflicted. At least that is what I believe. While trying to be responsible for your own emotions, I think, is a good idea, it is not always possible to end your own suffering simply by accepting it.

Now with all that said, I do not mean to equate the suffering brought about by slavery with the distress caused by DIL problems!

But what I do think is trying to  accept responsibility for your own emotions, your own expectations and your own behavior is worthwhile, it doesn't always end your distress.  I think that rejection is one of the hardest human emotions to deal with. It is  especially hard to deal with when it comes from a close relationship (even one brought about by law and not by birth). I think that you cannot really just detach emotionally from a situation with you family very easily. The bond between parent and child is a strong one for a good reason...it keeps the human race going!  :)

Isn't it possible that distress is sometimes  “other induced” ?

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Expectations and Acceptance
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2010, 08:02:07 PM »
Well, yes, if someone is beating you with a stick! The point is we pick our "others" and chose to stay in the marriage or the job. It's just a different way to look at being responsible for our own happiness. It can by-pass helplessness, hopelessness and victimism.

Something that stresses me to pieces might not affect someone else the same way. For instance, I am thin-skinned and can easily feel picked on. My best friend would treat an unkindness with puzzlement...and would say something about how strange the person was to think that she wasn't marvelous 24/7!  ;D It didn't bother her! She knew she was totally great!  I miss her. When I get into sticky situations I often think...what would ____ have said? And it helps me.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama