I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Always think the best

on April 1, 2015

People are all different.  We look different; we act different; we talk different; we eat different foods and play different games; we enjoy doing different activities.  Yes, we are all different and that is what makes us great.

Yet when it comes to relationships, our differences are often the cause of many problems.  We don’t like what the other person said, so we get angry.  We don’t like what the other person does, so we complain.  We point out their flaws; we criticize them when they do something wrong; we just can’t get along because they are different from we are and this frustrates us!  Why?  Because we are selfish and we want things our way.  We expect people to do what we want them to do.  We expect them to please us.  We expect them to make us happy.  We have high expectations of other people and they often let us down and disappoint us.  Why?  Because they are different and they can’t always do what we expect.

This is why relationships have conflict.  We have expectations about the other person and they have expectations of us.   Our expectations aren’t always realistic because we usually only see them from our point of view.  There is a gap between what our expectations are and how the other person can or cannot meet our expectations.  For example:  A husband and wife both work all day.   The mom gets home just as the kids are arriving from school and starts preparing supper.  When the dad comes home from work, she wants her husband to help look after the kids and he just wants to sit and relax until supper is ready.  So what happens?  Their expectations of each other are not met and conflict arises.

What were their expectations?  The husband grew up in a home where he was expected to do his homework while his mom made supper and his dad relaxed after getting home from work.  He expected his home to work the same way.  However, the wife grew up in a home where her father came home to play with the kids while her mom made supper.  She expected her home to work the same way.  Neither even realized where their expectations came from and wondered why they always had problems.

We need to understand why we have expectations and what we can do about them.  We can either fill the gap in our expectations with other people by thinking the worst about the other person or thinking the best.   What would this look like?  In the situation above, thinking the worst would look like:

  • The husband thinks he is entitled to having some peace and quiet when he gets home and doesn’t understand why his wife nags him to help look after the kids.  She should have everything under control so he can relax before dinner.  He wonders why she is always so disorganized.  Her nagging irritates him and he yells at the kids.
  • The wife thinks her husband should be helping her keep things under control.  If he would just spend some time with the kids, she could get dinner ready and then they could all relax and have a nice family dinner together.  He is just so selfish thinking about himself and too lazy to help out.  She puts supper on the table and doesn’t feel like making any conversation.

Now, the situation would have been much better if both husband and wife had thought the best about each other.  Here is what that would look like:

  • The husband comes home expecting to find peace and quiet but instead the kids are running around and his wife is trying to make supper amidst the chaos.  He thinks about how hard she works outside the home and then has to come home and look after the kids and make a meal.  What a wonderful wife he has.  She sure looks after the family.  He gives her a kiss and then asks what he can do to help.  She feels important and special.
  • The wife tries to get the kids working on their homework or doing some other activity while she prepares supper.  She knows her husband will be tired after working all day and he is probably looking forward to having some peace and quiet when he comes home.  Sometimes he is a little late because he has to meet a client so she goes ahead and feeds the kids and then waits for him to arrive.  When he comes home, she smiles and asks how he is feeling.  This makes him feels valued and appreciated.

So which is the better way to bridge the gap between our expectations and how the other person responds?  Thinking the worst or thinking the best?  It may be hard to always think the best of the other person, but it is certainly worth the effort and the result.



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