How often do expectations of others, when not realized, result in your feeling frustrated and distressed? Whether it is admitted to or not, there are some expectations that may be unrealistic. This becomes exceedingly evident when you want other people to behave as you think they should. The more others persist in behavior not agreed with, the more you are likely to become entrenched in yours. Unfortunately not making necessary adjustments usually results in a repetition of the same old unhealthy patterns that bring about no healthy resolution.
Negative self talk about other people’s behavior can also affect how you feel, think and interpret your own sense of self. Modifying or changing certain negative views would certainly make your life better. However, doing so is easier said than done. We are all creatures of habit and changing habits, even the non-productive ones are tenaciously resisted. This is no more evident than in our dealings with others we don’t agree with.
Many people, regardless of evidence pointing to the fact that other people may be different, would rather hold onto a concept that others are wrong when not in agreement. These people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy in attempting to convert others to their way of thinking and behaving. When that doesn’t happen, the results are unhappiness and disappointment.
Challenging these long held negative labeling of others can be a dauntless task. It can only be accomplished by entertaining the idea that other people, though different, may have viewpoints that may be perceived by them as equally valid. This is especially difficult because there is a propensity to gravitate to former ingrained beliefs rather than entertain the possibility that new ways may result in more effective outcomes.
In order to break free of unrealistic beliefs and behavior, you must look to yourself and not solely to others. Though initially resisted, you need to do the hard work of reframing your thinking. This means consciously breaking from the mentality of a right and wrong, where one feels vindicated and the other feels put down. You need to challenge these old ways of thinking that you have settled into but which brings you no lasting resolution.
When you are aware of your negative labeling, view it as a wake up call and pause to ask, “Can I reframe my thinking about this incident which can result in resolution and closure”? Modifying your perception in any given situation requires commitment and practice. This means negotiating differences rather than engaging in a power struggle where you both ultimately lose. Breaking old nonproductive patterns of thought and perception opens the way to new and more effective outcomes.
As always, readers are encouraged to offer comments, suggestions and feedback. You may forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org