There is a common thread to about 90% of the times that I feel pissed off, frustrated, or disappointed. That thread in the tapestry of grumbles and tantrums is people not playing by the rules. The rub there is that the rules I expect people to follow are my own. I invented them. They aren’t published anywhere, no one knows them but me, and still I expect everyone in the world to follow them.
My rule book states that my dad should call me once every-other-week or so. Four months notice should be enough for my last day at my desk job without being asked to stay on for another two weeks. People should always speak clearly and directly to ensure thorough understanding. My friends shouldn’t get sick. Working hard should afford me a comfortable lifestyle and affordable healthcare. Loaves of banana bread should always rise evenly and never sink in the middle, even at 7,700 feet elevation.
With these rules comes the expectation that the universe follow them. But what a silly thought, right? That I expect the universe to follow my rules? Ludicrous. Is it also ludicrous, then, to expect people to follow my imaginary rules? It’s arguable that some of these “rules” should be common sense…but that in and of itself is sort of a rule, isn’t it? Yielding to uphill traffic is an unspoken rule of the trail, but getting bent out of shape when someone doesn’t follow that rule does no one any good. Same goes with all the other rules that I have invented.
The bottom line for me here is expectations. If I expect the universe to follow my rules, then I’m inevitable disappointed or frustrated when the rules are broken. I can follow my own rules because they work for me. They are in line with the way that I want to show up in the world, for my friends, and for myself. My life has been full of enough humbling experiences that I can no longer pretend to think that I know the best way for anyone else to show up. Well, maybe that isn’t so true after all; I’ll know I’ve learned when I no longer feel pissed off, frustrated, and disappointed.