It happens to all of us. We have an upcoming situation/event and we get our hopes up even though we know in our gut that the desired outcome we’re hoping for is not likely to be the one that goes down in the history books. It’s not quite the same as INSANITY: repeating an action over and over and expecting a different result, but at the same time, it is, especially when we’re dealing with human beings who have a history of behaving one particular way.
I suppose we hope that just this once they won’t disappoint us, just this once they’ll prove our gut wrong and take the high road our gastrointestinal tract says is unlikely. But the gut is seldom wrong, though we often ignore it in favour of the voice in our head, the one in our heart, or even the one emitting from our loins. I mean, really, how many of us can chalk up many of our bad life decisions to using reason, or falling in love, or following lust, rather than just hearing the little backflip our gut makes when we contemplate whatever it is we’re contemplating?
Despite being sacks of meat strung together with the barbed wire of emotions, people are more often than not predictable, and it borders on insanity to expect them to react any differently, even when the specific situation has never come up before. It can really hurt when we get it wrong and someone we care about reacts exactly the way our gut predicts instead of the way our heart hopes, but the problem isn’t really with the other person, it’s with us and our unfair expectations of the other person/persons.
Is there something we can do about it? Well, we can’t control what happens to us, we can only control how we react, and the same thing sort of goes for other people. We can’t control how they will act, we can only control how we respond. Do we blame them? Blame ourselves? Blame some aspect of the outside world? Or do we just say “Yup, that’s what I expected. They’re hardly going to change now”?
But I like having hope. I like giving someone a chance to surprise me and defy what my gut is telling me. I like hoping that they will have shown some growth since the last issue came up. Maybe it’s unfair of me to want that of another person when I probably can’t do it myself. If I am just as predictable, am I in the wrong? Should I be trying to break my patterns and habits that make it easy for other people’s guts to predict whether I’m going to jump left or right or help rather than walk away?
Yes, and no. Good, positive, kind habits and behaviours should be cultivated and encouraged, while the bad/negative ones should be pushed to evolve. For example, I believe that kindness toward strangers should be encouraged, while harshly judging strangers should be discouraged.
Sadly, it’s often those closest to us who disappoint us the most, and every so often we have to ask ourselves if maybe the time has come to take a step back, time to remove ourselves from their immediate sphere of toxicity. It doesn’t mean you stop caring about them or loving them, but it does mean that you listen to your gut more and stop expecting them to behave any differently than they’re used to.
Some of you will want to say that we should be honest with those people and tell them how we feel in order to help them change. OK, but what gives us the right to try and change another person? Maybe the behaviour that’s toxic to us is wonderful and nourishing to others within their circle. It’s a tough call. Telling them you’re disappointed can be seen as either helpful, or an attempt to control them using guilt, and I’m pretty sure we’ve all got/had someone in our life who uses guilt as a tool.
So, what conclusion can my rambling here come to? Well, let’s simplify it to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, and BREATHE. Listen to your gut, and then take a breath, remain calm, and don’t get all twisted up inside because someone behaved in a way you actually thought they might.
If you think that this post has been a whole lot of vague-posting and I’m avoiding speaking about a specific thing that’s eating away at me… you could be right. What does your gut say about it?
Ciao for now,
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