I want to talk about expectations and trust next. After realizing that I have been holding back, I dug a little deeper into my own background to find ways that it may be easier for me to jump in. I really looked at my history and my relationships to see why I always cut out early and why I never really let it all out with people. It started with my parents—specifically my mother. I watched her struggle to manage four kids and multiple jobs and the exhaustion on her was palpable. I never understood why she was so strict with time as a child but I certainly picked up the habits and I never wanted to make her more upset or inconvenienced than she was. I gave up extra time with my friends so she could be in bed at 8:30pm. That was how it started. I didn’t want to upset anyone.
That behavior grew and grew until I developed my own phobias with time and I found myself getting angry if my schedule wasn’t adhered to. If I set an expectation with someone that I would be there by a certain time, if I wasn’t, I felt like I let the whole world down. And then people didn’t respond the same way I did either to time (if they didn’t show up on time it wasn’t a big deal) or if they didn’t do their part of the assignment I would certainly do it because I didn’t want a bad grade. THAT morphed into something else. I started noticing human behavior in general, which is fairly manipulative. My nature is to be incredible straight forward so when I say I’m upset, I mean I’m upset. If I’m getting anxious I am—there is nothing postural or attention seeking about me and my feelings—what you see is what you get.
I’m like that with my expectations as well. When I set out to do something with someone, I expect them to pull their weight. I don’t want to have to ask and I don’t want to have to explain what their role is. And maybe part of that expectation is unrealistic. In my 9-5 for example, I expect that you come in and know your function. You don’t need my permission to turn on your computer or log into the phone etc. We were all hired for a reason and I expect you to fulfill your end. And this behavior started showing me my patterns with trust. We’ve all been taken advantage of at some point and we’ve all had our trust broken. But for me, so much of that trust was broken initially by those closest to me. When those who are supposed to care for you and love you aren’t honest with you and don’t support you as you need, you learn early on that you can’t trust anyone. And the idea of social constructs is lost on you because any genuine intent is seen as fake and the fake intent is seen as genuine. But then you start to feel it. You can tell when someone is off even if their words are saying they are genuine.
So that is another level. Much of our society is now based on image and presenting a façade to people and selling an idea to them. I don’t want to be sold. I was raised old school with the idea in business that your word is bond. When you are paid for a service, you deliver and it’s that simple. But now we are in an age where we pay for ideas. We pay for what things look like and concepts over what they do and reality. We don’t think long term about what the repercussions are of using people and glorifying things. And that is where we are sick as a whole. Until we realize that our relationships are more valuable than our things, we will never break the cycle and we will never be able to live with real trust. And trust is a crucial part of security.
So as I’m trying new things and learning to lean in, I have to understand that not all of what I see is fake—nor is it all real. But there is still value in leaning in and learning what I can. Some things I see aren’t a ploy even though we are specifically being taught to sell. The key is to get behind something you really believe in so it isn’t a gimmick. And it is like that with life. Anything we do that is aligned with who we are will feel forced and fake. So learn to discern what matters to you because the rest will most certainly give you a feeling of being off. Take the lessons and the pieces that apply and learn to cultivate what matters. For me it is authenticity. That means being more real and open than I am comfortable with at times, but if my story can help someone, then that is something I’m willing to do. I’m just learning to manage my expectations of people and how they react to me because that is something I can’t control. But I can control how I react and what I participate in. So that is my focus—fixing a little bit of history at the same time.