I’m making a conscious decision right now, to unwaveringly expect the best in others. 100% of the time.
Even if they’ve let me down a hundred times.
Why? Because when it’s the other way around…
Many times, I’ve given people exactly what they expected of me. When they had high expectations of me, I delivered. When they expected me to screw up, I also delivered.
Maybe in a way, that is immaturity, but it isn’t necessarily conscious and it definitely is not simple. A conscious thought process of, “They expect me to fail, so I will give them what they expect,” is absolutely immature. But that is not the only way this plays out…
Change can be hard. Growth can be painful. This problem is nothing new…
In the Bible, Paul wrote in Romans 7:15: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Paul was an extremely passionate person, who couldn’t possibly half-ass what he believed in. It must have been a special kind of torture for him, to fail to live up to his own aspirations.
And I relate to that shit. I beat myself worse than anyone else ever could.
But when I am trying to change? And people around me expect me to stay the same? It adds to the discouragement.
It’s like I’m already swimming upstream, but then I run into a dam.
I don’t want people building a dam that stands in my way, and I don’t wanna build a dam in front of anyone else’s way.
Let’s build fish ladders instead.
Eventually, maybe we can just reverse the flow of the river, to make evolution easier for everyone. Maybe we can leave behind the era of, “Change is hard and growth is painful.”
We’re wired in a way, to expect things to stay the same. It always reminds me of a toddler I once knew, who would be especially confused if you moved to another spot in the room without him seeing you actually get up and move. “I thought you were over there…”
But we can override this tendency, and we should.
The tendency is delusional…
Nothing ever stays the same…
Expecting change is logical. Expecting positive change is powerful.
And if someone comes up short even when you expect the best?
Does it really matter? Isn’t it worth it, to just expect the best anyway, with even the slightest chance that your expectation could contribute to a better outcome for someone else and everyone their life touches?
Of course, some people may endeavor to exploit your positive expectations, and treat you like a doormat. Expect the best of those people from afar. Construct, communicate, and enforce your own boundaries.
I truly believe that every single human being on this planet is doing the best they possibly can within the limitations of their beliefs, socialization, and support system.
You can’t control their beliefs or how they were socialized, but you can be a part of a life-affirming support system of empowerment for everyone you meet.
Just by knowing… Everyone you meet is doing their best. If they could do better, they would. And they’ll be more likely to do better later if they have cheerleaders.
So, I vote for more cheering and less jeering.
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