Expectations in Our Relationships
When we really think about it most of our concerns and daily conflicts happen within the context of relationships.
We are constantly connecting with people at different levels of intimacy, but always dealing with unfulfilled expectations. It can be a loud neighbor, a demanding client, a lazy colleague, a child who is not doing well at school, or a partner who doesn’t seem to understand us. In other words, we expect people to be in synch with how we are experiencing situations and we even expect them to make us feel complete. But, we quickly discover it simply does not work that way.
Falling in Love with Our Projections
Observing our love life clearly illustrates how this process works. How many times have we fallen in love and considered the other person to be the most amazing person we’ve ever been with? And how long has this feeling lasted?
Scientific research has found that when we are in love—a temporary state of mind, our perception towards the object of love is distorted and we get addicted to the heightened neurochemical reaction in our system. What we are hooked by is the experience of loving and being loved. We project our feelings onto somebody else and actually believe the other person is the source of our feelings. By our continued fascination with the projections we’ve created, we then experience pleasurable sensations that we cling to. Without a doubt, these are the seeds for future conflicts, unfulfilled expectations and frustrations—in brief, the ground for basic dissatisfaction in relationships.
Much of the input we get on a daily basis from advertisements, songs, tv, movies, etc, reinforces a glamorized, idealized version of romantic love that doesn’t work that way for anyone. Even if we don’t notice, these imprints are unconsciously shaping our minds about our expectations of romantic relationships and how we cope with them.
Mindfulness Meditation Leads to Healthier Relationships
What we learn with mindfulness meditation, once we let go all those concepts is to connect to our true self, our own source of happiness, our inner wealth.
When practicing meditation we train ourselves not to grasp on to concepts that appear in our minds such us thoughts, images, sensations and emotions that color how we experience the world. In this way situations can be perceived more accurately and our true selves can be revealed.
By not identifying with and letting go of the mistaken perceptions we create about others, we are able to connect to our own inner qualities of wisdom and compassion, which leads to a more healthy and genuine ability to love. The irony is these qualities are already within us even though we project them onto others, which brings about codependency and dissatisfaction. We don’t need others to complete us because we are already complete. This is our true inner wealth. And from this place we can better connect with others with an attitude of openness and appreciation rather than clinging and dependency.