Recently read something TD Jakes wrote about our expectations, frustrations and disappointments from the people in our lives.
He says that when we are able to understand why, what and where a person has come from in their life experiences & when we try to cultivate and maintain a relationship with them and they keep disappointing us and coming up short in what we expect and want and need from them and we only end up frustrated and angry because they can’t measure up to our standards; it’s us that needs to take a long hard look at the situation and adjust our expectations of them.
We can’t change them, we are not in control of them and we don’t have the power nor the right to do so or think we can.
For the most part, we demand and have such high expectations of ourselves that we project those demands and expectations upon others in our lives. We think that if we can discipline ourselves, be a woman or man of our word, get the job done and hang in there until it’s complete and done right, be of upright character and dependable, diligent and trustworthy, loyal and devoted, kind and generous, truthful and honest; then everyone else should be too. Well that’s not the case, that’s not reality and it’s not a realistic expectation to expect everyone to be, look, feel, act or respond the same.
He gave the example that there are GALLON sized capacity people in the world and PINT sized people in the world. Inevitably, because opposites attract to one another, GALLON sized people are going to find them self in a relationship with a PINT sized person, their exact opposite usually. Here is where trouble arises for the relationship.
Just think about those little things you adored that used to make you laugh and you loved because they were so different from you and you actually enjoyed early on now can drive you absolutely crazy. Or maybe you’ve given birth to or you’re raising a child that is opposite you and they are just “lazy” in your eyes, they are not giving their all to whatever it is. They quit too soon, give up and you can’t stand that about them. Maybe you are working along side a person that always slacks off, quits early, comes in late and refuses to pull their load. Maybe these few people won’t do more because they know it’s never going to meet your high standard and by the way, if they don’t do it, you will. You are the dependable one and quite predictable.
If you are a “GALLON sized” person~ a person with a BIG heart, a BROAD vision, able to see the BIGGER picture, the one with no limits to your loving, giving, forgiveness, helping, kindness, generosity, compassion and you have no boundaries to your involvement in outreach and you’re always reaching out to include others and you desire to learn and know more, you dream BIG, you want more, need more and can handle the growth and expansion and have the attitude “the more the merrier” and you go beyond and above in everything you do and then you expect the PINT sized person you are involved with to do the same when they ARE loving, giving and doing all they can to their PINT sized capacity and yet for you it’s not enough, you get so frustrated and disappointed with them.
They may in all actuality be giving out ALL they can, doing all they can; and albeit compared to the GALLON sized person, they are “dwarfed” and coming up short and shallow in their emotions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, dreams and behaviors. The PINT sized person feels as if they are drowning, they are in way over their head with you and they feel very possibly like they are being smothered by the GALLON sized person in the relationship. And then no wonder the GALLON sized person feels as if they got the short end of the stick, like they are always lacking and feel a huge void and BIG empty hole inside that can never be filled with the PINT sized efforts; thus the continuous disappointments and frustrations with the PINT sized person.
For me, I am sharing from my own personal life lessons: I was in a relationship for nearly 20 years with a PINT sized person and I was always frustrated, disappointed, sad and consistently comparing him to other men that were more disciplined and attentive and consistently employed. I wanted him to be honest, a good provider and one that made me feel loved and secure. I expected him to be loyal and faithful, someone who was a good dad and son and brother and uncle and friend and on and on the list went with what I expected, needed, wanted, desired and prayed he could be if he only would and tried harder. In my mind, why couldn’t he be? I would pray, believe, expect an answer and anticipate something from him, sometimes depending on his word after he told me he would do it and he wouldn’t deliver and I’d get disappointed, felt insignificant, unimportant to him, ignored and uncared about; with each disappointment would come the frustration with yet another broken promise or his excuse, “I just forgot” or “I can’t, I’m doing all I can!” Then my frustration turned into disdain and then into anger and when anger set in it turned eventually into such deep issues of mistrust and disrespect. I disliked him greatly and though I really didn’t want to hate him, because I loved him in the beginning, I grew to despise him and could not even stand to be in the same house with him. I regretted ever marrying him and all the wasted years I could never get back. All these toxic emotions and feelings came out and began to affect our children and I couldn’t live with him anymore.
The relationship crumbled, it fell apart with each lie, each broken promise and what I thought was a selfish act on his part. I had given so much, poured so much of myself into the marriage and never got anything back; I was emotionally, mentally, physically and financially bankrupt and my spirituality suffered too.
I was mad at God for not changing him, I was so tired of trying to pull the whole heavy load of the marriage, along with all the baggage trying to keep my head above water pulling the dead weight of him and two little girls that needed me to keep things together and not have a breakdown. (I’ve learned that one person can’t make a relationship work alone, it really does take two to work a partnership. ) I tried my hardest to change him, to make him better and get him to grow and not be so selfish and in the end I was doing all the changing into who and what he wanted and yet never seemed to please him. He said I smothered him and inhibited his natural personality and that I refused to accept him for who he really was. So one day, God opened my eyes and I did see him for who he was and I accepted that truth about him and I didn’t like it. I realized he had shown me time and time again through the years who he was and I was wrong for expecting anymore from him. He had grown to his capacity and that was it. The marriage ended, we set each other free, we both have moved on and are happier for it.
What I learned from that was to recognize and accept people for who they are and that I cannot make someone grow beyond their capacity. I am however in control of how much of myself I give to that person and how much I expect, if anything from them in return. I can spot a GALLON, QUART, PINT, HALF~PINT or CUP sized person immediately now. Lesson learned!
Since I have different sized people in my life; those I am related to, those I work with and have any contact with, I adjust my expectations of them and expect only what I understand they are capable of giving from their levels of capacity. I love them and respect them for who they are and what they are and where they are.
I enjoy time spent with them, but I have set myself free from the illusions, the disappointments and frustrations of any unrealistic expectations of them. They are free to be who and what they are. Free to be who God created them to be. There is no way possible they can live, be, share and give away that which they aren’t, don’t have and possess in the first place. It’s liberating for me and surely for them too. We are all much happier in the end and get along in peace.
I have also learned that any sized person can grow, expand and broaden their hearts, minds and lives. But they may never see the need or desire to. They may be happy where they are, who they are and that’s perfectly ok and acceptable by me. I want to witness each one being their true authentic self~the very best they can be.
I am a GALLON sized person; I am capable of loving, giving and living BIGGER; I choose to surround myself, invest and forge deeper and build more meaningful relationships and friendships with other GALLON sized people. I have some very special BIG people in my life today that wonderful friends, mentors and partners. I am married to a man today I would describe as a “55 GALLON” man. He challenges me, he pushes me to be my best and my daughters were raised to be GALLON sized and they are: BIG hearts, They have a BIG vision, dream, think, live, love, accept, give and forgive really BIG too.
However, I do know GALLON sized people; being BIGGER in ALL aspects of their lives~hurt more too, their pain and heartbreak in comparison to a PINT sized people is much greater. I’ve learned that too from my own experiences and walking through it with my girls.
My prayer is that I never stop growing, that I will continue to learn, have a teachable spirit and that I never quit expanding my boundaries and enlarging my tent. I pray that I will see and envision the “BIG PICTURE”, embrace with my arms wide open and my GALLON sized heart ALL the good and beauty and love around me and that I am prepared for all that God has in store and planned for me. I am growing into BIGGER shoes, I want to be a 55 gallon rain barrel when God is finished with me.
My friends, whether you are a GALLON, HALF~GALLON, QUART, PINT, HALF~PINT or just a single cup sized person; may you be challenged, encouraged and inspired to step out of your comfort zone today, reach for your dreams, stretch your boundaries and increase your boarders. Try something different and unique, be pliable and resilient. Be open for new and exciting challenges, be open for changes and stir up your faith, act with a courageous spirit, dare to believe BIGGER than you’ve ever before. Let the favor and blessings of God pour over you to overflowing and spill out onto others so that you can be a blessing and share your life with them. Grow BIGGER, be BIGGER, be BETTER!
Make it a great day my dear friends and know how special you are to your Father no matter what size person you are! ;0)