Disappointing ourselves

We tend to see people as we would like them to be. These preconceptions often prevent us from seeing people as they are. We then expect (and demand) them to be as we need to be. They, on the other hand, tend to act as themselves. When they act differently than what we expected, we feel disappointed or betrayed. In this way, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. We disappoint ourselves.

But there is an alternative. We can discipline ourselves to see people as they are- not as we need them to be. We also need to be aware of  what we are after in the interaction. We then trust them to be who they are. If the way they are corresponds to our intention for the interaction, we proceed. If not, we reevaluate.

This way we are much more likely to have successful, mutually beneficial interactions. We get what we were after. They have an experience in which someone is accepting them as they are. Everyone wins.

So say I have a need to share an idea with a friend and I am wanting objective feedback. I need to consider if it is in his nature to provide such feedback. If so, I trust her to do so. If not, I find another friend to share my idea with.

There were times I complained to my Zen teacher about how judgmental someone was when I shared an idea with him. He would simply say, “Well, what were you expecting?” He was implying that judgment should have been an expected response from the person I shared it with.

Notice my teacher held me accountable for the failure of this interaction- and not the person that was judgmental. That person was just being himself.

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