Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lowering expectations

I spent some time with a good friend, Diane, the other night and we were talking about relationships as women often do. She was telling me that she'd recently had some breakthroughs in both her marriage and a close friendship, realizing that she had unrealistic expectations. She wanted her husband to be interested in all her inner workings (she's dealing with the terminal illness of a beloved stepfather) and she wanted her friend to create a lot of space for Diane's issues. She had realized in recent encounters that neither was going to happen.

It got me thinking about my own expectations. I know that in my writing life, the words of William Stafford are a constant reminder to lower my expectations. I'll write more, I'll write more freely, and I probably have a chance to write much better, ironic as that may sound, because I'll write more.

And I'm wondering, in my conversation about food as addiction, if I lower my standards of what can satisfy me, if I can be open to different kinds and levels of satisfaction, if I can notice satisfaction everywhere it shows up, then maybe I won't need food to do that for me, at least not so often.

I've also been thinking about relationships and whether I can notice their differing levels of give and take, of satisfaction, and let that be as it is as well, rather than holding out for some form of perfection and being disappointed when they aren't what I want.

1 comment:

Bridget B. said...

This really struck me, too - I once had a boyfriend who noted, with frustration, my unwillingness to eat "perfunctory food."

"You want every meal to be an experience or to indulge some desire," he said. "You can't just eat a sandwich because you're hungry and it's there and it'll fill you up."

Oh boy. And how many other things can I apply that to in my life?