As we all live out our stories, the characters who surround us will inevitably permeate into our story. And unlike fictional characters that are created and manipulated to carry out a specific purpose, our supporting characters are WILD! We don’t have much control over who they are or what they do or their background or their beliefs, etc. While we can, to a certain degree, control their level of influence in our lives, we absolutely cannot control, or write, them to be who we think they should be.
All that said, its important to remember that the people in your life aren’t you. I know this sounds like a duh statement, but seriously. It’s quite natural to assume that if you are on time for a business meeting, that the others will be prompt as well; or if your friend asks for help because you know more about the issue than him, he will return the favor when you seek his expertise; or when you and your business partner commit to share responsibilities on a project, that she will uphold her end of the deal; or when your boss tells you he cares as much about your success as you do, that his actions will show it. The truth is, things don’t always work out so nicely. Our expectations are often upset and we find ourselves frustrated at these people and these situations.
I recently found myself here. Frustrated because I tricked myself into thinking that someone else was me. They’re not. And that’s ok. I’m able to write these thoughts and articulate these truths because I received some of the best advice from C on this very topic. In general, he said:
“You’ve got to rise above and be the _______ you want him/her to be.”
This was so profound! I’ve heard it before, but he is so right. I can’t expect someone to be me, but I can rise above their behavior and be an example of what I want them to be. This is the time that the focus shifts back to myself and regardless of that person’s behavior, I have to be diligent in who I am and stay true to my own expectations of others. If I fail to perform or carry out my end of the deal, I am simply a mirror for that which has caused me frustration in the first place.
So, next time you are ready to throw in the towel because he/she is not you, remember that you are you and perhaps he/she will see in you what you didn’t see in them.