The hardest part of the communication process for me is in the act of sensing others’ expectations of me. In other words, when conversing in written or spoken form I can often detect the way someone expects me to respond in words and actions to his or her words and actions; and as a result, I feel an uncomfortable sensation and pressure to perform and live up to expectations, as if I have unwillingly been written into some theater script.
Sometimes, if I don’t act and sound the way another expects then he or she responds in a manner, e.g., with words, inflection, posture, body movements, tone, etc., that reflect defense or question. Often, during conversing, even online, I feel another person reaching into me: a type of octopus probing.
Before conversing, I prepare myself emotionally and physically for a bombardment of others’ expectations. Not out of defense or fear, but out of the constant exposure, and my resulting adaptation of self. It’s a type of communication assimilation, one in which I wasn’t effectively given a choice, but rather forced into the pattern of give and take in order to escape isolation and not feel entirely obsolete and ostracized. I rather joined in to release myself of the pain of being alone; not because I agreed or fancied the way the discourse presented itself, but because my only choice was to join in or remain outside the perimeters of society.
Recently, I have concluded that if others’ expectations of me bring me discomfort, my expectations must in turn, whether at a conscious or unconscious level, bring others discomfort. Thusly, I practice daily releasing expectations for all people. I have let go of my unspoken expectations to be understood, heard, comforted, loved, etc. Having let go of most expectations, the challenge now is at a deeper level of my psyche.
I know myself enough to realize I still hold onto expectations regarding others. I still want them to release expectations of me. Wanting another to release expectations of me is an expectation on my part. This is clear.
I now detect with great awareness many wants and needs individuals bring into a conversation, which at times I can perceive as much unspoken ‘unfinished’ business and emotional baggage. Most of these complexities of needs and desires are at a deep level hidden below the surface so that even the individual is unaware of what he or she is bringing into the conversation.
I theorize, even if others could recognize these needs and unspoken feelings in self, and I could attempt to appease and soothe their insecurities, nothing would be accomplished at the core-level. As their esteem isn’t based on my response or surrendering to a game of ego-stroking; their esteem is something that must be built from the inside out.
For myself, I take no issue to addressing my exact needs. I am in touch with my core being. I was born this way, I believe, as most are, but much of our core-self is hindered and hammered by the indoctrination of societal expectations. I, for one, have no challenge in admitting I am in need of comfort, I am frightened, or I am feeling insecure. I recognize myself as a human being with a full range of emotions. The difference I find between myself and many others, is I will simply state without fear, when I need something. I am matter of fact. “I feel ugly. Tell me I am pretty.” I don’t hint or create scenarios in which I hope another will fulfill me. I simply state what it is that I am experiencing, whilst also recognizing I am the only one who can build myself up into a state of wholeness. When I reach out, I reach out fully, without secrets.
When I sense others’ expectations, as the observer I am dumbfounded at times in how to ‘act’ in a conversation. To me, saying what I think another wishes for me to say is not truth, but instead a type of false-validation in which I am playing a role and fulfilling an unspoken expectation based on another’s deep-seeded insecurity. This might sound cruel, but I don’t believe it is. I think instead, I view things at a deeper-lever than the typical person. I see what is beneath the skin of conversation, and much like a doctor, I am able to detect through observation and study what the patient cannot readily detect alone.
I am diving in deeper to the analysis of conversation and recognizing a familiar truth established thousands of years ago by philosophers, gurus, and spiritual teachers. The truth of freedom in all things, including conversing, is truly in the process of letting go. Letting go is freedom that doesn’t exist with thoughts of the future. All expectations are woven into the future and created from material of the past: the remnants of material based on the scaffolding of personal interpretations.
As of late, I have noted certain people trigger my own need for ego-stroking. I give my power over to the ones I supposedly ‘love’ the most. However, at closer look, I give my power over to those I ‘attach’ to the most. For in my view, love does not encompass fear or expectations, not even needs. Love is enough in and of itself.
Today, I am facing the challenge, a journey which often feels equivalent to being scraped on the inside with a razor blade to spirit, of releasing expectations of validation from those I love most deeply.
I am granting them the freedom that I desperately wish granted to me.
This is an all engulfing and brutally life-transforming, releasing process. Yet, I find in the moments of solace, in-between the effort and pain, I can at last breathe, in that I have shed the hypocrisy of self, by treating others as I truly wish to be treated.