When things are less than effortless when you are relating to another person in any kind of relationship, the one main reason is expectations.
Expectations that you have about how they will show up and expectations that they have about how you will show up. The more expectations that there are between two people, the more potential challenges there can be, especially if you don’t discover what’s behind them.
Behind all the expectations is one main expectation that, once discovered, gives you a tremendous tool to begin clearing the way for more clarity, space and better energy in the process of relating to the other person.
The main expectation behind all other expectations is: the expectation that the other person’s behavior will change your energy (how you feel) and/or will support a particular self image (identity) that you have or want to have.
You expect that them showing up in a particular way will make you feel better and will help you to better see yourself in the way you want. You also expect that them NOT showing up in this particular way will do the opposite for you: it will make you feel bad and see yourself in a negative way.
In holding this main expectation, you are giving the power to feel how you want and the power to define yourself over to the other person, at least to some degree (to the degree that it feels like a problem for you).
Think about an expectation you have about another person’s behavior that is not being met right now and that feels like a challenge for you (this should not be too hard!)
Now ask yourself “If this were going perfectly right now, how would I want to feel?”
Once you answer this question, you have the feeling that you are hoping to get from them showing up in this particular way (the opposite of how they are showing up now).
Now ask yourself: “If this were going perfectly and I felt they way I want, what qualities would I have as a person (for example, words like free, at peace, strong etc)?
Once you answer this question, you have the self image you are hoping to have supported by this person showing up in this particular way (again, the opposite of how they are showing up now).
The solution is to let go of the main expectation – to no longer expect their behavior to change how you can feel and to no longer expect their behavior to support a particular self image you want. Instead, you can choose to feel how you want to feel now, and choose to experience yourself as having all the qualities you want right now regardless of how they show up now and in the future.
You can still have expectations about their behavior; obviously there will be some, but you now no longer expect their behaviors to change your feelings or self image – in a positive or in a negative way.
While this may seam more challenging to do than to just try to get them to change their behavior, in doing this, you are taking the weight off of the relationship. You are no longer expecting the relationship itself to do things for you that only you can do for yourself: choose the energy you want and choose to see yourself in a particular way.
Once you have let this main expectation go, you might discover how many of your other expectations were simply smaller versions of this one trying to get the same job done. Many of your other expectations might seam meaningless or less important than they did before.
When you no longer bring this one main expectation into the process of relating to the other person, then changes to both their behavior and yours can become simply logistical and much easier to collaborate with the other person on. You no longer feel that them showing up in any particular way has power over how you can feel and how you can see yourself. It then becomes much easier to bring the energy of love, compassion, empathy, fun, lightness or any other feeling you want to the process of relating with them.