Love everyone for who they are now, not who they can be, and not what they should be. This includes your spouse, your children, your friends, and total strangers.

Lessons from My Father

What they “should” be? Let’s face it, they should be more considerate, more thoughtful. They should be more responsible. They should do the dishes, pick up their stuff and not leave it laying around. They should take care of their stuff. They should remember to do what I asked, I’m sure I asked politely. They should at least have the decency to do it without me having to badger them. They should at least make some effort in our relationship, right? It shouldn’t always have to be me.

It’s easy to judge others for who they should be. It’s hard to love them for who they are instead.

This is one of those lessons I learned from my father, that I constantly need reminding of. Sure, I can love someone. I am capable of that. But what about these feelings of disappointment when they don’t do, or act, like they should? The detachment it takes, from expectations I have, is not in my nature. I have to make an effort at it. How can I put away those feelings of disappointment when someone doesn’t do what I expect of them? Or worse? When the seemingly do things to let me down?

Letting it go and detaching from expectation, and choosing not to let it separate you.

Unspoken expectations are the worst thing you can do to someone you love. Do you know what I am talking about? It’s the kind of judgment that you put on someone, but you don’t tell them? You expect them to just know. People seem to do this most with the people they are closest to. Having expectations but not saying anything about it. It can be spouses, it can be parents and their children, siblings. Something simple even? Like, do they know that you expect them to call, and they never do?

I am really close with my siblings. At least I think I am. I call them a lot for no reason. Just to check in. Sometimes I get really busy and forget for days or weeks. I feel bad when that happens. And sometimes they call me for no reason. When we start talking again, we seem to just pick up where we left off. I like seeing them and spending time with them. No reason. Just doing it. I miss them when I don’t see them, and I enjoy it when I do.

It takes effort to stay in touch. The busier I get the more effort it takes to maintain relationships. Just spending time with people is harder for me than it used to be. I realized that I have lots of people I thoroughly enjoy spending time with. No reason to. Just doing it. Sometimes it’s around music. Common interests? Some. But many of my friends are not really Jazz fans. They are normal people with other interests. Common beliefs? Some. But many believe very different things than I do. We come from very different backgrounds. Still, it’s hard to get together as often as I’d like. 

I’m busy. They are busy. I guess I should just be thankful when we can and do get together. 

But what about the stickier things? The bigger expectations? The bigger disappointments?

Is this so bad that I never want to see or speak with this person again? For the rest of my life? Or is that just absurd?

Sometimes it helps me to be absurd. Think about the most absurd response, and try that on. See if that is what I want? Like this. “They never do the dishes”, okay. Maybe I should disown them and never speak with them the rest of my life? Hmmm. Well, that’s absurd. Probably not worth me losing my cool over. And certainly not worth me ending the relationship over.

I find that it works with big things and little things for me. For me, it’s almost way too absurd to take that position. That helps me let go.

Regardless of the disappointment. It’s too absurd for me to let it end my relationship.

I don’t want to be judged, so I guess I shouldn’t judge them?

What makes it just a little bit easier is the hope that I have to be treated the same way. I don’t want people to make unfair judgements on me. I don’t want them to love me with conditions. So I guess I should do the same for them? Yeah. I guess that sums that one up.

How about everyone? Really? Total strangers?

That’s a tall order. For who they are, now? Not what they should be? Yeah this is a tall order. But since I don’t want anyone judging me, I guess I shouldn’t judge them. I should just love them for who they are now, where they are at now, no matter what. 

Just let it go. Everyone. Try it on.

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