I recently had a major AHA! moment and it’s been somewhat life-changing (for where I am at the moment). In the midst of a months-long struggle, I had a realization that I needed to reevaluate what to expect from others. Let me explain…
What to Expect from Others
To put things bluntly, the last ten months have been exhausting and in many ways excruciating for me emotionally and mentally. On the outside, I’ve managed to hold it together for the most part. On the inside – it’s been recurring moments of depression, devastation, and disappointment.
A combination of being a new mom, struggling to “relocate’ myself in my career, and my longtime nagging feeling of not reaching my potential have just been fueling the fire of one another. There’s certainly nothing about my situation that others don’t know all too well.
Over the course of the last few months, however, I’ve been becoming more and more agitated that the people around me weren’t giving me what I needed. These weren’t physical things necessarily. These were emotional things – support and love shown through words, actions, and, at times, yes, gifts.
That sounds terrible, but it started to feel that people just weren’t seeing me. They weren’t seeing my pain, seeing my hurt, and seeing my slow decline (decline into what, I’m not sure).
Anyway. It all came to a head on Mother’s Day. I kept waiting for a big show of appreciation for everything I’d done as a mother. Everything I’d overcome, everything I’d given….just everything.
I was waiting for the flowers to arrive. Maybe they were being hidden from me. Maybe they were going to be delivered. They weren’t.
In my swirling mindset, I realized that the person who would order me flowers is my dad who I lost four years ago.
What I Realized
All the sudden it was so clear.
After a year of not having emotional or mental space to miss my dad, I finally had a moment to see that he was missing. His show of love, support, and appreciation is the kind of love, support, and appreciation I’ve been sitting around waiting for.
This sounds selfish, but I think this was just the path down which I needed to travel to see again that I miss his presence in my life.
Because I didn’t understand that what I was looking for was the thing my dad would have given me, I was trying to get it from people who don’t love like that – it’s not their love language if you will.
The people closest to me aren’t “flower people” (my new term). They need to appreciated, but they don’t necessarily want flowers or things to feel it. If they don’t want that kind of love, how an I expect them to give it to me? Yes, obviously I could ask for those things specifically, but I hadn’t.
What does it mean?
I’m still processing this realization, but it was like a light switch flipped on. I realized that I missed my dad, appreciating what he would have given me were he here. I also realized that I can’t expect these things from others – at least not right now.
Do I still want flowers? I mean, of course! But am I ok without them and in a better emotional space now that I’ve compartmentalized these emotional needs and demands? YES!
I’m in that space because I’m back to being able to see just how much my loved ones ARE giving me and I needed to stop (internally) asking for more.
It can be hard to pull apart what we give and take from each relationship, particularly from those closest to us. Really, we give and take so much that it’s natural to start expecting it all from them…and you can’t. None of us are able to give in every possible way, so we need to stop expecting it.
I’m not sure how I’ll fill the void of the love my dad would have given me in this time. Now, however, I can start to look for it – much more happily.