Unmet expectations

A woman silhouette sitting, looking out over an ocean, watching the sunset (or sunrise). Expectations. 
Image by czu_czu_PL from Pixabay

I am blessed to be participating in a book launch. That means I’m reading the book, interacting with the author, and promoting it on social media. There are several wonderful nuggets of information and inspiration within the book, but this quote really resonated with me:

“Most hurt feelings are the result of unmet expectations.”

Kendra Burrows*

Think about that for a minute. What unmet expectations do you have? How have you been hurt as a result of those unmet expectations?

I expect certain things, especially from certain people. I expect to be treated a certain way, talked to a certain way. I expect others to treat me the way I treat them. That’s a big one with me, especially when it comes to family members and close friends.

Someone I’m close with, we’ll call her Ann, was living with her boyfriend, Jack. It was kind of assumed they would eventually get married. When it was discovered that Jack was cheating on Ann, I was there for her. When she went through the full array of emotions: anger, resentment, etc., I was there going through the same emotions with her. Jack tried to make amends several times, but Ann wanted him to move out. I supported her decision and was so proud of her for standing her ground.

After some time passed and emotions cooled, Ann and Jack were able to build a friendship. On a couple of occasions, she even invited him to small gatherings. Again, I supported her. I welcomed him with open arms because he was a friend to Ann. If she hadn’t developed this friendship, I would still be mad at him for cheating on her. However, since she was able to forgive him and move on, then I was also.

Fast forward several years when my husband and I separated for a few months. (He didn’t cheat on me, it was primarily because of unmet expectations for each of us.) Some hurtful things were said, and I moved out. We only communicated through texting for a month or two, then by phone, then in person. We wanted to work things out. We forgave each other. I expected Ann to support this process because it was almost identical to what she went through with Jack as far as forgiveness and reconciling in one form or another. But that’s not what happened. She stayed angry at my husband for what he said to me for almost an entire year.

I was so hurt that she didn’t support my decisions/emotions in the way I expected, in the exact same way I supported her decisions/emotions in her situation. When I tried to talk to her about it, she actually brought up Jack. That I should’ve stayed angry at him on her behalf. I told her that I was following her lead. Why should I hold a grudge when she didn’t? Eventually, everything worked out, thankfully, but I still can’t help but think about it sometimes, especially when I’m supporting her emotions on other issues.

A therapist once suggested that I list my expectations of a certain person and have that person do the same. Then, discuss them with each other and see what we can let go of and how we can meet the most important ones to each of us. It’s a wonderful and worthwhile exercise.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Please join me this week in praying for those who have been hurt by the words or actions of a loved one. Pray that they look to the Lord for healing. Pray that their hearts soften so they can rise above the situation, that they find the strength and courage to forgive their offender. Let’s also pray for the person who inflicted the injury that they might become more kind and tenderhearted.

* Hrichi, Shadia. (2021). Tamar – Rediscovering the God Who Redeems Me. Leafwood Publishers. Abilene, TX.
For more information about the book, visit: https://www.shadiahrichi.com/tamar-launch/ I plan on doing a small group bible study based on this book beginning in January 2022. If you’re interested, let me know.