I read a quote the other day that said “Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectations.” To say these words were counteractive to the buzz my coffee was giving me is putting it mildly. I found the words depressing and heavy. I searched trying to find the morbid, acholic, gothic writer who obviously had penned this. This chick Siri had the nerve to tell me “Author Unknown.” So the only thing I got confirmed was the fact that someone really feels this way. And to me that meant someone also felt if they set no expectations, hoped for nothing, withdrew from situations before seeing if their dreams could manifest, they were safe. Harsh.
I have a tendency to be positive. It can get annoying. Not because I don’t have the best of intentions, but because being positive every moment can be dismissive of the real feelings of others. So I decided researching this little quote would be my first attempt at undoing my toxic positivity habits. Look at me I’m growing…I’m glowing!! If you don’t know what toxic positivity is google it, because honestly your friends could be talking about how irritating you are RIGHT now and you think you’re helping. You’re not.
Anyhow, in my research I discovered people who commonly have these feelings of despair had two things in common: disappointment since early childhood and ironically not setting their expectations high enough. They had been disappointed so much and so often early on that they can’t shake the feeling that even when everything goes right, soon it will go wrong. I thought well if I’m too positive…is this line of thinking too negative? Perhaps, but mostly it’s a survival skill.
I’m very firm that we all need to be responsible for our actions and behaviors towards those we care for. To me, our past experiences are not an excuse for not working on having better communication with others. This includes us positive people who are used to communicating through the sugarplums. However, I think it is important for people to understand when someone they care for is responding out of survival mode. This means their responses have nothing to do with you, just with their need to feel safe. If you’re like me ( a fixer) that’s a hard pill to swallow. But you pushing to fix when your friend is pulling away only reiterates to them that you can not respect their boundaries and once again, they are not safe. So here is a life hack…leave them the hell alone. Check in, read the room. It’s still colder than a witches’ teat in here? Come back later. Don’t take it personally. Bring snacks. Everyone loves snacks.
Leaving your friend the hell alone is also a way to ensure that you don’t get exhausted. Even a cheerleader must rest between high kicks Susan. Maybe chilling out and validating what your friend is feeling will help them view things differently, because if you stick it out with them…maybe life is not so heartbreaking after all.