Relationships, and the weight of expectation (I still love you Lewis Hamilton!)

I have laughed and cried for Lewis Hamilton. I have perched on the edge of my seat, body rigid with tension, waiting for ‘lights out’ and praying to God that he gets a good start. But I am becoming disillusioned by his celeb status, or at least that part of his life. I don’t like the fact that he brings one of his star – spangled friends to a Grand Prix, who then openly snubs a beloved ex driver/F1 presenter……and on track, of all places. And I was even more disappointed to see her included in the Mercedes’ victorious group photo……it felt like an intrusion, a violation.

But you see, that is because I have an expectation of Lewis Hamilton, based on my own wants and needs. I don’t want to see pics of him posturing in the shower, or topless, as handsome as he is. I don’t mind hearing about his dogs and his family, and I love listening to his philosophical thoughts, the times when he is genuinely sharing. I eat up stories about his past, and how he reached his current dizzy heights. I felt for him, when, as his father revealed, following a misjudgement during a qualifying session at Silverstone, he locked himself in his room all evening. He was 30 then, and to some it might have seemed that he was sulking. But he wasn’t……he was beating himself up and re – grouping. And the following day, he went on to win the Grand Prix. THAT is my Lewis, based on my version of him, in line with my own wants and needs. I am neatly severing the other part of him, in my mind, that doesn’t match my expectation.

When our expectations of others are not met, we often find ourselves caught up in the blame game. In the ‘you’ve – let – me – down’ or the ‘you – have – disappointed – me’ trap. And it is a tricky one. In a personal, emotionally intimate relationship, there are certain things we expect to be in place: faithfulness, friendship, kindness and respect. And they have to cut both ways. And if these things are not present, both ways, over time the relationship will become toxic and either break down, or continue on in an agonising, unhealthy way.

And sometimes these things ARE present, but they become lost, buried under a landslide of unfulfilled expectations:

I shouldn’t have to tell you how I feel……if you loved me, you would be able to figure it out for yourself.

I shouldn’t have to ask you to do this or that……if you loved me, you would willingly do it, without prompting.

You should be there for me, regardless.

You should love me, no matter what mood I am in.

You should show me affection, even when I am pulling away from you.

You should realise that I am still hurting from my past, and so work to prove you love me and that I can trust you.

If you love me, you should open up to me, and share every thought and feeling.

If you love me, you should leave your old hopes and dreams behind…..our relationship should be enough for you.

Of course, there are many more, but it is becomes clear that every relationship of any kind requires ongoing attention, coming from a place of self – awareness. If a relationship is clearly and obviously dysfunctional, without a hope in hell of improving (usually because one member of that relationship doesn’t feel the need to change, or have any desire to do so), then it has gone beyond the point of no return. But when there is still a good degree of friendship, of love and commitment, buried beneath the suffocating mess of un – met expectations, there is still hope. We can ask “Just because I expect this person to respond this way, and behave that way, am I being reasonable? Are they actually capable of being the person I expect them to be, and if not, does that make them wrong or bad?” We all know what is expected of us, in a general sense, and so we can figure out what is reasonable, and what isn’t. We have to allow all of our important relationships the space and time to adapt, change and grow. We have to be responsible for our own sense of well – being and satisfaction, rather than expecting another to fulfil that need for us. We have to remember that they too have their expectations, their wants, needs and fears. A relationship that is worth having, is always a work in progress……there is no cut – off point at which we should have arrived!

As for Lewis Hamilton, he has only one expectation of me……to continue to be another face in the adoring, cheering crowd. He has no knowledge of, or interest in, my expectations of him. If I want to continue my relationship with Lewis, I have to accept him warts and all. I have to nurture the bits I like, the parts of him that resonate with me, and tolerate the stuff I don’t like…..distance myself from it, in order to keep the rest safe. Actually, when I come to think about it, I am already doing that with some of the ‘real’ relationships in my life (which is how they have survived), and probably vice versa. Now, isn’t that interesting? #lewishamilton

 

 

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