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acceptance

Why Is This So Hard - Unfulfilled Expectations

It Is Not Supposed To Be This Way

Unfulfilled expectations can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Focusing on the thoughts, “it is not supposed to be this way” or “it shouldn’t be this hard” bring pain. All relationships in some ways fail to meet expectations. Most couples at some point reach a “commitment remorse” stage in their relationship, where they start to wonder, “What have I got myself into?”

Acceptance
Acceptance

Maybe there is too much fighting. Maybe that sense of closeness is gone. Maybe resentment has been building. Maybe there is a lack of respect. Maybe they have had thoughts like, “I love you, but I am not in love with you any more”. Maybe a co-worker is starting to look more appealing than they should.

Taking the stance that it is not supposed to be this way, leads to resistance and fighting. We can end up throwing blame, justifying bad behavior and feeling like a victim. Acceptance of what is and gratitude for the experience brings us peace. We are more able to focus on what is my part and what could I do to help make things better.

Expectations put the neediness in dreams. When I have a vision, hope or dream for my life, it can help pull me forward. When I get sidetracked with ideas like: I should already be there, what is wrong with me? My partner should be more attentive or less pushy, what is wrong with them? We should be seeing eye-to-eye, what is wrong with us? then I find more and more reasons to be dissatisfied. When I start adding the shoulds, I lose sight of my vision in the judgments and criticism.

We can become completely dissatisfied with our life if we keep telling our self that it is not supposed to be this way. We can start to focus too much on that feeling of lack and worry too much about what am I getting out of this relationship. The more we focus on what is lacking the less we feel love toward our partner. Those feelings of love can return when we turn our focus to loving our partner, rather than feeling unloved by them. Joseph Goldstein said, “You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf.” Acceptance can allow us to learn to surf in our relationship, rising above the challenges and difficulties. Rather than feeling like we are drowning as the waves pummel us. Acceptance does not mean that there is no need for change. It does mean that there is no energy wasted on grumbling about how things are not as expected.

The greatest gift that you can offer yourself and your partner is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Offer it first to yourself and you will be better able to offer it to your partner.

Recharge Your Relationship

Everyday, most people, especially young people, are constantly on electronic devices, phones, ipads, computers and a myriad of others. These devices all have batteries and usually give a warning when the battery is running low and they must be plugged in or they will die. Similarly our relationships require recharging if they are to have a long life. Is your relationship running on reserve power? Is it limping along and near the breaking point? Is it time to recharge your relationship? Your phone or computer are not very useful or fun when they are dead.

Relationships are extremely stressful when they are dying. If your partner has tried to communicate to you that there is something missing in your relationship, then you want to pay attention. This important information is indicating that your relationship could benefit from recharging. And just as the reminders to recharge your phone will run out and your phone will die. Your partner will at some point give up asking for what they need and your relationship may end.

Although it can be tempting for those who want to avoid conflict to deny, ignore or put their heads in the sand, when relationship problems begin, this approach generally leads to further relationship deterioration. Many hope that if they just carry on somehow things will resolve themselves, but this usually ends in frustration and disappoint.

When was the last time you recharged your relationship battery? Recharging your relationship is not quite as simple as plugging a cord into the wall, but it is relatively easy. However unlike electronic devices which you run until they warn you to charge them, relationships respond best when you form habits of recharging regularly.

Consistently making your relationship a priority and creating time for each other may be the most important way to put life back in your relationship. Go on a date at least once a week, talk to each other everyday about more than the kids or what needs to be done and most of all smile at each other. Practice focusing on what is great about your relationship and about your partner, rather than nit picking at each other's faults. Expressing gratitude and acceptance are also great ways to recharge your relationship.

Each time you plug in your computer, phone or other electronic device, let it remind you to also put your time and effort into recharging your relationship.