“No one ever broke your heart; they broke your expectations.”
This quote from Kyle Cease is a significant quote for me because I was sure I had been broken-hearted several times in my life. What was he saying, that no one ever broke my heart? Surely, that couldn’t be true.
However, I had recently experienced and wrote about a disappointment that I was blaming on a friend. After hearing this quote and processing the situation, I realized the problem wasn’t my friend’s “fault,” it was the fault of my expectations!
That doesn’t mean you should lower your expectations. It means you should examine your right to hold any expectations of other people in the first place. Naturally, when you make plans, you should expect people to follow through, right? Perhaps not. Most people, at least once, have made plans they couldn’t follow through with. Looking back on your life, can you think of an example? My guess is that, when you made the promise, you had every intention of following through, but life happened and you chose to reprioritize, causing you to not fulfill your promise.
You may be mad at yourself for disappointing someone and not following through, but you know that deep down you had every intention of sticking to your commitment. You know you aren’t a liar, a cheat or lacking integrity. So why, when someone breaks a promise to you, do you assign evil motives? People who break trust with you are usually no different than you. When they promised you, they meant it, but life can get in the way of our plans.
I have mentioned my Unconditional Trust Challenge before, but it is a real thing that can help so much. It’s helpful because you no longer have to get upset with people when they disappoint you, nor do you have to berate yourself for trusting people who hurt you. When you accept the Unconditional Trust Challenge and apply it in your life, you’ll learn how to be understanding and supportive when people need to make different choices than you would like them to. You don’t become disappointed, upset or frustrated in the first place.
I have had people contact me about my Unconditional Trust Challenge and they say, “Clearly you don’t mean when you are in a relationship with someone, do you?” Yes I do! That’s not the only thing I mean, but it definitely fits. Imagine a relationship where both people honor each other so much that they celebrate each other’s choices, even when they aren’t the choices the other wants them to make.
When you are in a healthy relationship, each person considers the effect their decisions will have on the other person. When you realize that, there is no reason to be angry. You were a factor in the decision but not the sole factor. If you are not in a healthy relationship, the other person may not consider the effect their choices have on you or they may not prioritize you the way you’d like. When this is the case, you may want to reconsider your relationship choices.
Imagine a wife gets a promotion but it’s in another city; she wants to take it but her husband doesn’t want to move. Consider a marriage that stops working ten years in and the husband decides to file for divorce. Think about your friend who broke a commitment to do something with you and chose to do something with someone else. In all these situations, you can be happy the other person found what was most important to them at the time.
You could choose to be upset, disappointed or even angry, but what good does that do? You may cause the other person to feel guilty but what have you gained? Could you find it in your heart to be happy for the other person and realize this frees you to find another way to get what you want? If your spouse takes a job in another city, celebrate the promotion and find a way to make the time you do get to be together extra-special. If your spouse files for divorce, remind yourself you don’t want to be married to someone who doesn’t want to be with you anymore. Realize this frees you to find someone else who may bring even more joy, happiness and love into your life. If your friend bailed on you, go alone, find someone else to go with, or choose to stay home.
Once you understand that your emotional reaction to these events is subconsciously engineered by you to make the person do what you want, you will tend to want to stop. Never try to hold tight to a person who doesn’t want to be with you. When a person wants to go, you won’t be able to stop them. It’s better to be happy for them and then to go about the business of procuring your own happiness. That is where your time is best spent. You owe it to yourself.