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Relationships: Honouring commitments

January 5, 2018

 

My disappointments, in relationships, and otherwise, come from my expectations not being met.  My expectations are based on my beliefs, past experiences, socio-economic environment, religious and cultural norms and the like. Simply put, whenever I have any disappointment, I need to go within - because what is common whatever I am upset about is ME! The most common response or reaction to disappointment is anger; other forms of disappointments are sadness, frustration, feeling let down, dejection, and the like - generally fall under the umbrella of "being upset." (For more on Anger, you could read about it in an earlier post, here: Understanding Anger)

So, by extension, if someone else is disappointed with me, they are the ones who need to work it out, right? And that's because it is their expectation that causes their disappointment? Maybe that is so! And, yet, I need to be appropriate since healthy relationships are 100:0, not 50:50 - which is another series that has already been written! And so, If someone else is upset, and I care about them, it is worthwhile for me to introspect, and see how I can help them be happier. Yes, healthy relationships are 100:0 and it is fair. The moment I start thinking fairness and unfairness, I have slipped from 100:0!

 

Coming back to expectations -  here are some "duties" and "responsibilities" that come with taking on a certain role (parent, spouse, sibling, friend etc.) - Whether I knew or didn't what they were when they took on the role.Yes! Some of these commitments made are explicit and others implicit. And those commitments, are best honoured - for my own sake and growth.

And if I think, "The implicit commitments are tricky. I can only, with integrity, live up the implicit commitments I made to myself, AND  as part of the explicit commitments I make to others. Others reading or reaching through my explicit commitments into their assumptions of what that implies is tricky!" Well, it IS tricky! Relationships are simple if one chooses to think so, and they are tricky if one chooses to think so. And as with everything else, it might be useful first to know myself, my expectations and the like.

Remember: In Jurisprudence, there is a construct - "Ignorantia juris, non excusat" which means, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Similarly, ignorance of the implicit commitments is no excuse. And one must strive to learn more and more about the implicit commitments - that is what makes one a human. Even animals adhere to instinctive commitments.

 

For example, the moment one chooses to become a parent, they have taken on the implicit responsibility of ensuring that the child is provided for, is safe, and has all necessary  support to live with peace. What peace construes, and what are one's basic needs, nice to haves and luxuries depends on many factors. It is here that it might be useful to ensure that I choose to clearly understand what those are. It is in setting wrong expectations that I might set the stage for others to be disappointed.

And yes, clarifying one's understanding of their own commitments, to those who matter, and obtaining clarifications, if any, and then inspiring the other to do what one believes is reasonable, fair and just is what makes a fruitful, mutually respectful relationship. And the key to all this is to have appropriate, open, mutually respectful communication - of listening and sharing inspiringly. Many shy away from these critical and crucial exchanges of information - and that leads to a mismatch in expectations. Hence I need to take responsibility to ensure that my communication about my commitments are understood clearly. The truth is, "I am responsible for the results of my communication - stated, unstated, verbal and non-verbal."

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