After loaning out books for years and feeling sad and disappointed that I never saw them again, I stopped expecting to get books back if I chose to lend them out. The same is true for Tupperware-like containers.
If you lend either with the expectation of them coming back to you, you are likely going to be disappointed.
After replacing the same books repeatedly, I started lending my books only if I was comfortable letting them go forever. I love my books more than I love any of the containers in my kitchen, so I do not mind if the containers don’t come back. I am likely to keep your container anyway, but I will always give back your books unless you tell me not to.
I have no expectation of Tupperware’s return, but it is always a nice surprise. On my doorstep this morning was a container I really didn’t care if I saw again. It was a nice surprise just the same to have it back. It started me thinking about expectations in general.
I try to live my life with minimal expectations. If I choose to do something nice for you, I have no expectation of you doing something equally as nice for me. If I choose to help you, there is no expectation of you helping me. It is nice if you do, but I do not sit up at night wondering why you haven’t yet.
Many of my relationships are naturally reciprocal that way, and I doubt there are score cards hanging up in a secret place in our homes. I am sure I know people with score cards. Those folks are probably pretty resentful of me in recent years, although no one has shared as much.
Expectations always leave someone disappointed or upset because often the other party doesn’t even know there is an expectation. The disappointed party then becomes resentful, that resentment festers, and eventually it comes out in some way or another.
If I have an expectation of you and am actually aware of it, I will communicate it to you. If you have one, I hope you will do the same for me. It is frustrating when you tell me you do not want your book back when in truth, you do. I will keep your Tupperware (actually, I will forget I had it to start with) unless you make a point to tell me to return it to you.
I’ll bet you didn’t know Tupperware could mean all that, did you?