People are surprising.
Constantly… It fascinates me how some conversations go.
How some incidents turn out.
It is a lesson I have learnt with time and under unfortunate circumstances. Sometimes, it hits like a whiff of rotting garbage. The disappointment in an unknowing expectation. When I first heard of my ex-husband’s adultery, I could not wrap my head around it. The girl he had cheated with was like a child to me, I could not imagine it was possible for anyone to hold a straight face while doing something as deceitful as they did, for as long as they did. Even if it’s not something as hurtful as that; it could be a simple expectation of like-mindedness or possibly a conversation when the person you thought was liberal says something plain nasty about a community, a gender or a preference. And then again it gets your goat. You are taken aback.
And there are times it is pleasant. Like meeting a person who you imagined was so stuck up and then realising what a fur ball they are. So open to ideas and receptive to differences.
My friend told me about her colleague who she would not see eye to eye with. Somehow both of them felt that they were different people and would not get along. Surprise, Surprise. When things went wrong in the organisation…this girl stood by her like a rock and fought for her when people she expected to let her down.
Friends, colleagues, partners, relatives – People constantly surprise us. Not just in how we imagine them to be. Very often, they are different from who they intend to be or seem to be. Their imagination of who they are is based on aspirational values and the reality is so different. It is not even intentional and most people don’t seem to even realise the gaps.
It is important to understand this; to help you handle the situation and to not beat yourself emotionally.
1. Expect the unexpected.
Know that people don’t fall into specific boxes and it is not for you to identify or stack them into categories. We can not prepare but when it happens you can connect the dots and laugh about it.
2. Don’t assume.
When unsure, ask. Don’t imagine you know something when you don’t. About what people think, how they feel, what they are doing or why they did something. Simply ask, if you need to know and it affects you. And don’t make it your business to know if it’s not yours to know.
3. Don’t emotionally pitch yourself into someone’s behavior or attitude. Your actions and emotions are deeply personal. So are theirs. Give them the space to define theirs while you define yours.
4. “But they should have considered me; They could have thought about how I would feel” is a very huge expectation which we expect without question. It is not fair on your part. You are not the centre of the universe. It is no one’s responsibility to constantly take care of your feelings, be it your folks, your children, your friends or colleagues. Step back and consider your actions while you make expectations of others.
5. Similarly, you can’t feel responsible for how other people think, feel, react or respond. Even if it’s your partners, you can not take responsibility for their life or actions. Give due credit and due responsibility. Let them fight their battles, stand up for their emotions. Don’t blame yourself for things other people do or fail to do. Guilt is corrosive.
5. It is okay to choose your response. Some times being cheated on will destroy you, sometimes it will help build a stronger, better relationship. What you do with your emotions are up to you. Don’t let anyone decide for you. Don’t let anyone push you into making a decision.
6. Accept the emotion you feel, the heartbreak, the disappointment, the love, the warmth, the desire. That is yours to relish, to survive, to get through. Don’t brush it off… Learn from it.
People surprise you. In the things they do or don’t, say or not, in the way they make you feel, it is those emotions that makes life interesting. Different from what you had imagined. So it’s worth appreciating.
Only that one must try not to become bait or bitter.