I so look forward to the MTV VMA's every year. Each year the show seems to one up the previous year! I just devour every minute of the fashion gone wrong, the over the top performances, the theatrics, the celebrity couples, the rants, the comedy... every hot, messy minute of it. With the exception of the host, who was NOT funny. I still, after two years, have no idea who he is and why he has been given this honor and who, by the way, really needs a stylist - skinny jeans and vest? Really? Not so much. But aside from the host, I thought this year’s show was captivating from start to finish. Pink. I'm speechless. Wow! Beyonce, when my son was 18 months he went through this stage where he would get really, really excited. He didn't know how to express his feelings, so instead, he would just open wide and bite down hard... on me! I wanted to bite Beyonce. Lady GaGa: I had no interest in her until this years VMA's. I thought she was a just a gimmick. Wrong. She is wildly talented, demented and a freak show that you can't take your eyes off. I'm dying to see her live!
But the big news of the night was, of course, Kanye West storming the stage and ripping the microphone away from sweet innocent, doe-eyed, 19 year old Taylor Swift during her attempt to deliver an acceptance speech. I may be the only person in the bloggesphere to say this, but I wasn't stunned or surprised in the least. Why? Because he's done this before. Kanye has had previous award show rants about Gretchen Wilson, Justice na Simian, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. He's a big spoiled bratty baby. His actions were rude, childish, thoughtless and small; but they were completely predictable.
I have great parents. Still married after 40 years, Marge and Bill didn’t drink or do drugs and raised my sister, brother and me to be good upstanding citizens. They are, however, late to everything. Because of my Dad’s compulsion to fit in one more things; my parents have missed a few things including thanksgiving dinners, flights, and the beginning of almost every movie, to name a few. I love them, but I have learned to expect them to arrive late. One of my dearest friends has never once called to make plans for the two of us. She waits for me to do the planning. I used to take it personally and “keep score”. I adore her, but I needed to accept that she’s simply one of those people most comfortable in the “passenger seat”. My kids are most demanding of my time when I have a cut throat deadline and really need to focus. When my husband has gone beyond 3 hours without food, he’s…well…shall we say…easily agitated.
These things used to frustrate me. You probably have someone in your life that routinely has you in a fit; and once again they have disappointed, frustrated, offended, or inconvenienced you. How often are you disappointed by the same set of circumstances, same friend, same frustrating co-worker or the same relative? Why don’t they just see the light, strand up and fly straight once and for all?
Ironically, the person who disappointed you most recently tried to tell you this was going to happen. Forget what you believe to be right or wrong; if you want to predict how people will behave, just glance at what they’ve done in the past. If your Mom or Dad were selfish or abusive toward you as a child; why would you think he or she would miraculously become a better person now that you’re an adult? If you have a friend who is always late, why would you foolishly believe this time they might be on time? If your sister is a total flake, what would possess you to ask her to help you with something important?
Response: “This time I was really hoping it would be different.”
Reality: People rarely change.
A friend of mine has shared stories with me of her horrific childhood and the pain she endured at the hands of her abusive, alcoholic single mother. Despite the cards dealt to her, my friend is a fantastic mother and a wonderful friend! I’m very attracted to resilient people. This girl defines resilient. She’s conquered her past, ended the cycle of abuse and created the life she deserves. Yet, several times a year, in a moment of weakness she invites this woman (who doesn’t really deserve the title of Mother) back into her life. Seduced by the fantasy of a relationship repaired, undermined by her deep rooted longing for the love and care she was denied; she allows her back in. Though not as trusting as she was when she was a child, there’s still a part of her that believes that this time things will be different and each time…it remains the same.
Your abuser will probably never drop to their knees and deliver the gut wrenching apology you deserve, no matter how many opportunities you create for them. Don’t expect people to change by creating more opportunities. They will only prove that people rarely change. It is what it is. They are who they are. Take it or leave it, but be realistic. The most that you can or should expect from people is exactly what they have done in the past. Should they do more, be more, or rise to the occasion…well then you can be pleasantly surprised. But to be surprised when someone acts or responds exactly as they always have is waste of your precious energy.
Be an optimist, but when it comes to people, a healthy dose of realism is required.
Why be disappointed by things you should expect. Most people will behave tomorrow as they did today. Most people are consistent: consistently reliable, consistently in a heap of drama, consistently negative, consistently taking charge, or just consistently inconsistent. If your best friend remembers your birthday a week late each year, why be disappointed this year? It has nothing to do with her adoration for you. Keeping track of dates is not her strong suit. It’s not personal. Get over it.
Unrealistic expectations are a sure-fire way to stir up stress levels and harbor futile frustration. It is useless. You can expect that your unreliable babysitter will not show up on the one day you need her most. You can expect that the “angry” woman who works the front desk will be just as unhappy today as she was yesterday. Expect that your toddler will use a Sharpie™ to make his mark on your beautiful white couch. Your boss, who hasn’t given you an “atta-boy” in six months, is not planning a parade in your honor. Accepting these things as fact does not mean that you’re rolling over, or condoning them. Rather, accepting them is to acknowledge that you can’t control the actions, thoughts or behaviors of anyone other than YOU! Expect that which is likely, predictable and realistic based on past experience and then relax when it happens.
Don’t invite a house full of kids over and not expect a mess. Don’t throw a party if you’re a clean freak. Don’t rely on someone who has been unreliable. Don’t expect a guy who has cheated on his wife won’t do it with you. Don’t think that the girl, who gossips about everyone, won’t do the same to you. Don’t believe that your dysfunctional parent(s) will suddenly see the errors of their past. Don't let Kanye West get anywhere near a microphone at an award show if you're not ready for his obnoxious rant!
The opening line of the book, 'The Road Less Traveled' by Scott M. Peck begins simply, 'Life is difficult.' Peck’s message isn’t negative. It’s the truth. If we expect that life will be difficult, we will be better equipped to handle its challenges and more likely to tighten our seatbelts and enjoy the excitement of the bumpy ride. Children of healthy marriages expect that relationships take work and that conflict will arise and that loving caring partners compromise, apologize and make-up!
When we accept that difficulties are a part of life, when we consider that most people are predictable, when we expect imperfection and malfunction, when we anticipate having to do the job ourselves and set expectations realistically; we lead a happier more predictable existence. When someone disappoints, frustrates or drives you crazy, just smile and think to yourself, “Well, I expected that.” You have two choices: 1. Accept who they are and set your expectations realistically or 2. Decide that you won’t tolerate the behavior and drive your car in a different direction. Changing the other person is not an option. You only have the power to change you.
So, set your expectations for others where they should be. Don’t take it personally. People do a great job broadcasting their next move; just pay attention to what they’ve done in the past.
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