The Answer May Be to Lower Your Expectations

. 2 min read

When you consistently don’t feel like your best self around someone, the relationship isn't serving you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut this person out of your life.

Often, that’s what we’re told, but this black-and-white thinking doesn’t always feel accessible and realistic, nor, again, vital. (Unless, of course, it is—i.e. when your mental/physical health is on the line.)

Afterall, this person you tend to feel less-than-good around could be family, and often we don’t want to sever ties with family for a variety of obvious reasons.

In these cases, I’ve found it’s best to adjust expectations. That starts with accepting people for who they are and then acting accordingly, which can bring a huge amount of relief—whether that means accepting them and cutting ties completely (again, if your unique situation requires this, as can of course be the case), or limiting the time you spend with them and lowering your expectations of this relationship.

For instance, if you would prefer deep conversations but this person is often on their phone while you're together, go into your lunch date fully knowing this. Then, when they do take out their phone, rather than let your frustation bubble up within you, consider how you can enjoy this time in spite of their lack of presence. Can you make it meditative? Enjoy the aroma or interior décor of the restaurant? Savour your meal? Can you people-watch? Can you tune into your breath? Take a moment of gratitude for yourself? Could you connect in to the best version of yourself and work on embodying him/her right now, even while in an unideal scenario?

Ultimately, the relief comes as you release this weight you’ve been carrying over the years as you’ve tried over and over again to change a situation that was never really in your control to change anyway.

It feels like a cleanse. You feel lighter, able to focus more so again on yourself, your wellness, your soul’s path, and those relationships that truly nourish you—in the present and in the future, as when we create more space we invite in more of what is truly meant for us.

Over time, you'll likely feel stronger too, knowing you have what it takes to handle similar situations when they arise in the future.

Overall, the key takeaway is it's within your power to stop expending energy on people/situations that aren’t going to change. Depending on your unique situation, either cut ties (if need be/easier), or adjust how you show up in the relationship (accepting and lowering expectations, even going so far as to sort out ways to enrich your life given the nature of this relationships—while ensuring you’re entirely honest with yourself. This isn’t about being pollyanna, but finding how you can benefit from, say, a parent that often takes work calls while you're having lunch "together" (i.e. with more me-time).

If you have relationships that feel difficult, which you could use guidance on, or you are looking to cultivate nourishing relationships but feel as if you're blocked, email me to inquire about coaching together. Or check out The North Star Podcast, which explores relationships as well as spirituality, personal development, wellness, and entrepreneurship.