I’ve been dealing with technical issues this week; my wireless hot spot, laptop, and cell phone. I was on the telephone with my wireless internet provider for over 2 hours on 2 different days. On the first day, the customer service representative decided that the unit must be faulty, and, they sent me a new one. I set it up according to the directions, let it charge the right amount of time, and happily turned it on all the while envisioning an available internet connection. Unhappily, however, I called the provider again because of a different problem, and still no internet. (I’m in school and have a business to run, so I’ve just gotta have the internet; right?)
On the second day, the first customer service rep was unable to help me (after 2.5 hours), so I was transferred to Technical Support. I left that telephone call in tears, because the technical support person was so incredibly rude, and the problem was still unresolved. After I gathered my composure, I called again. This time I spoke with 4 different provider helpers. They finally decided to give my case to the “troubleshooting” department, and I would get to wait another 2 days for them to troubleshoot. Now, I have a life to live, so what’s a girl to do? Well, I went to Radio Shack and told them my problem. After a 2 minute conversation with a customer service person, I was told that the wireless card in my laptop seemed to be broken. The customer service person suggested I purchase a wireless adapter, which I did. I went back home, followed the wireless adapter’s directions, and voila perfect internet reception.
Hmm…The problem was with MY system NOT the OTHER guys. As I sat mulling over these events, I realized that each person in a relationship is in a customer service role. Think about it — the problem was with MY system not THEIRS. How many times is that true for you — it’s your problem not mine? “I don’t know what your problem is, but I don’t have one.” “Let me tell you the way it’s going to be.” “I assumed you expected the same thing out of our relationship that I did. What happened?” “We’ve talked about this a hundred time, and I expect you to…”
There’s a quote from the 12-step program I’d like to share: “Unrealistic Expectations are Premeditated Resentment.” It’s unrealistic, isn’t it, to expect others to completely meet our needs?
The customer service people followed the script created by the provider to work with customers who experience issues; and these CS reps did just that. Step by step; just the way they were taught. The one techie who was rude wasn’t taught to be rude, but over a period of time her own frustrations and “stuff” merged together creating rudeness. It wasn’t personally directed at me; it was simply the state of awareness she was operating from that day. I took it personally, because my “expectations” were for a CS rep to be kind, understanding, and helpful. The problem was with my expectation…and my expectations did indeed cause resentment. I resented the fact that my expectation was not met. Hasn’t this happened to you, as well? Like daily?
In a premarital or marital relationship, it’s important to know the difference between expectation and expectancy. They are quite different states to be operating from. An expectation is state of anticipated outcome. Expectancy is the frame of mind or state of anticipating something will happen. We expect our partner to perform their spousely duties in a certain way to meet our expectations — let’s say to make us feel safe, happy, sexy, financially secure, etc. And then we feel let down because our expectations weren’t met when all along the problem lies within ourselves. We can’t expect anyone besides ourselves to meet our own expectations. But we can live in a state of expectancy because we are in a state of anticipating what’s next. It’s mysterious and sexy. I find that operating from expectancy there’s an excitement; and operating from expectation issues forth rules that must not be broken — resentment enters the room and the scene changes.
In the book, “The Shack”, there’s a great passage about expectation and expectancy on page 205 . Check it out:
“If you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else. But what happens if I change that ‘expectancy’ to an ‘expectation’–spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend…expectations are the basis of guilt and shame and judgment, and they provide the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value.”
If you are in like, in love, have a crush or in the winter years of your marriage, love from the state of expectancy for a fulfilling relationship. From expectancy love is able to flow and flourish. When problems arise, and they will, don’t set your beloved up for failure by expecting anything at all. You can more easily work out issues from the state of expectancy because you will be operating from a place of unlimited freedom and acceptance. Expectations create boundaries with their step by step directions leading you to failure. Value your relationships and go with the flow; love is unlimited and boundless.
Be a good customer service representative to those you are in relationship with. Throw away your script, and choose to live from a state of expectancy!