I watched SATC, the first movie yesterday. Yes, I can’t believe I did it either, but it was on telly and so we left it on and finished watching it until the end. It was cheesy and predictable, but it did remind me of a topic that has been chewing at me for a while.
Oh, and if you need to ask what SATC stands for, good on you. I think you should remain in the oblivious state which is so much better than the state most of us are in… having been exposed to SATC the TV series and now, the movies.
What is the main problem with all love stories, cheesy or not, between two people? In every love story, you can always pinpoint the baddies down to Expectations & Assumptions, the evil twins. To refer back to SATC if I may, If Carrie did not ASSUME that Big wanted the crazy wedding, or had the EXPECTATION that Big would just go with it, there wouldn’t have been the big blow up (even if you have not seen the movie, I really do not think that this is a spoiler in any sense. It is SATC after all… and the movie is just a bigger version of the TV series really).
Miranda’s story is the same, really. She assumed that all the blame is on Steve, even shouting the predictable line of “I changed who I am for you” (you see, women always want to be seen as the party making the ‘bigger’ sacrifices). Instead of talking it through like adults really should, she stormed off and never gave the relationship a chance. Miranda ASSUMED that Steve wanted her to change and had the EXPECTATION that Steve would be grateful for it and always be her non-questioning lapdog.
This is what our society today calls Love and it is bullshit, really. The most important thing in Love is RESPECT, I feel. RESPECT trumps EXPECTATIONS and ASSUMPTIONS any day. If you RESPECT someone enough, you will talk to the person properly and not skirt around issues or make ASSUMPTIONS. This applies to all layers of love, whether between lovers, family or friends.
When parents put children through a good education, it is in hope that it would make them better human beings than the parents themselves. It is first and foremost a hope. However, if the child fails to meet the EXPECTATIONS, the parents ASSUMES that the child is not trying hard enough or that the education system has failed. What if, it is just not what the child wants or is capable of doing? It is surely not a matter of failing? The child is also a separate individual in this case, so do the parents actually have the rights to EXPECT something in return from the child (e.g. a successful career in the parents’ eyes)?
The same goes to children, who grow up to assume that parents want to forever help them out. Many adults, even after they have started working ask their parents for help of some kind. Some parents can’t say no. They will always want to help their children, help see that their children have comfortable lives. Parents don’t realise that as long as help is given, they cannot complaint if the child (now adult) never learns the hard lesson of life.
That is perhaps why humans find fulfilment in relationships with pets. When you own a pet, you make a vow to take care of the animal and most people will start that relationship with absolutely NO EXPECTATIONS. You can’t expect your dog or cat to take care of you in return. Occasionally, they may be trained to do the odd favour (fetching slippers or newspaper) but even when they don’t, you do not have any reason to hate them. Because of the lack of EXPECTATIONS, every bit of love that a pet shows towards its owners becomes a special gift. People who own pets know this, every time a dog wags its tail when he sees you, or when a cat sits on your lap and purrs, you feel the pure unbridled love that it wants to give you. When you receive without expectations, it becomes a gift.
The culprit though in all problems is a LACK OF COMMUNICATION. We are all too afraid to ask or tell others what we really feel like. Back to SATC, if when Miranda and Steve broke-up, all the girls had told Miranda that she is being too tough on him rather than play the ‘good friend’ card and agreeing with all the crap that Miranda was spewing out, it would have saved them time, marriage council fees, saved the kid all the trauma that he had to go through, etc. Before any of you climb onto your high horses and tell me that what Steve did was wrong, yes, I agree with you… BUT… I am talking about relationships and how people should tackle problems, I’m not taking sides.
COMMUNICATION is a very difficult thing. I have always assumed (there’s that horrible word again) that being brought up with Asian values, we tend to be less open in communication than the Western world. I still don’t know if this assumption is true, but we never talk about our feelings at home. I know of (Asian) friends who have very open communicative families, of course, but I feel that it is still quite rare.
I know that if I am displeased about something, I really should just say it and discuss it properly, whether it be with family or friends. However, I am only human and as I weigh the consequences of what I want to say, I am also weighing up whether I can be bothered to go through it, should the worst reaction come true. Do I want an argument? Do I want my family member / friend upset at me and then having to work through how to patch up that relationship? Most of the time, people don’t argue or bring up sensitive issues because they just do not want to rock the boat. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say it right?
This is probably most obvious in gender differences. Men are more notorious in avoiding sticky situations and discussions than women are.
So, what can we do since we know that we, as humans, are such stupidly complex beings unable to clearly, concisely and openly describe our feelings to each other?
I say, if you cannot cope with the consequences of COMMUNICATION, then LOVE with all your heart but NEVER ASSUME OR EXPECT ANYTHING from the other party. Girls, if you think you are doing more for the relationship and are pissed off that he doesn’t pull his weight, just stop and think. Does he assume that you should be doing all that? Does he actually expect all of that from you, or did you put that expectation on yourself? Most of the time, he probably does not expect anything and if you had assumed the responsibilities around the house and in the relationship (without consulting him), do you have anyone to blame but yourself?
Guys, if you feel like your other half is being angry for no reason, don’t ASSUME that she is just being a girl and don’t EXPECT her to just get over it in a few days and that things will get back to normal. You need to learn to ask the tough questions, if you want your relationship to last and flourish.
As a start, I am going to try and set a few rules for myself to follow:
- I am going to learn to do things just for myself. I will not ask others for help, unless absolutely necessary.
- Then, I will do things for others but learn not to expect anything in return.
- If someone does something nice for me, I will learn not to assume that s/he will do it again and I will learn to see it as a one-off (even if it repeats itself), being grateful each time.
It looks pretty easy written down, but I bet it is one of those situations where it is ‘easier said than done’.
Let us try it anyway.
NO EXPECTATIONS OR ASSUMPTIONS, just LOVE.