Updated: Aug 18, 2021
As I think about my life, I have carried many titles. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a student, a co-worker, an employee, a step-mother and my favorite, a wife. With each title, I carry different responsibilities. Even though we all think that a title has a clear and concise definition of those expected responsibilities, life isn't always that perfect.
I know I have been hurt in the past because my expectations of the person holding a certain title has never lined up with my own personal definition of each title. Think about the people in your life. Who holds the title of mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, best friend, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, daughter or son?
When you think of these titles, is there a person behind the title of who you're describing?
Would you say the person behind each title is the epitome of that title? Hmm...not so much, right?
It would be absolutely impossible, for anyone to be the perfect embodiment of any of those titles, because behind each title is a flawed human being.
William Shakespeare once said "Expectation is the root of all heartache."
Growing up, I watched movies that portrayed the perfect mother. They were loving, nurturing, caring, made you home made cookies, etc. Well, my mother was not like the ones in the movies. In my mind, I came up with a definition of what a mother should be like, and I was constantly let down. I grew bitter, resentful and became very angry for a period in my life. There were many times in my childhood, when I would pray to God asking Him, why my mother was not like other mom's.
I'm sure you have experienced the same kind of disappointment. Either with your mother or father, sister, brother or maybe even a friend that let you down. Some think that friends are more important than family or vice versa. The more meaningful and significant the relationship is, the more important that title is upheld in your life. I know I have some friends who I have cherished and loved for over 20 years. I treat those friends like family. I have given them my time, energy and love. But there have also been friends in my life who never returned the same time, energy and love. And when this happened in my life, it would always hurt my feelings. I would be left disappointed and confused because my expectations were based on my definition of friend.
This is lesson in life that has been hard for me to grasp and it comes up again and again in my life. To remind myself when anyone disappoints me, I keep this quote in my journal, "Accept the fact that some people didn't intend to let you down. Their best was just less than you expected." by Thema Davis.
Expectations are dangerous. They can lead to so much hurt and disappointment when they aren't met. I want you to always remember, how someone else carries their title, is not a reflection on who you are as a person. Just because someone doesn't love you or treat you the way you expect them to, doesn't mean they don't care about you. Its just the only way they know how. We all have different love languages and we were all brought up in different environments and have different definitions of those titles.
What a mother, father, sister, brother, or friend means to me might be different than what it means to you. Listen, no one is given a life manual that says, "here, this is how you are supposed to act as a _______" (fill in the blank). I wish there was some kind of manual, so we could all be on the same page but life is not that black and white.
Regardless of the title people carry in your life, please remember that just because they hold that title doesn't mean you need to make space for them in your life. If for some reason, someone in your life hurts you or harms you, either physically or emotionally, it is perfectly acceptable to distance yourself from that person. I have had many people in my life, both family and friends where I had to do just that.
I have learned throughout life, that people will always show you their true colors. They can either bring you bright beautiful colors that will light up your life or they can bring you darkness and misery. We only have so many days of life, so don't waste them in the dark.
Don't allow those people who crush your soul to continue to have space in your life. For some people, its hard to let go of the pain, hurt, bitterness and resentment but once you clear that toxic energy from your life and remove the darkness, you can make space for more light.
I once heard Maya Angelou give the best advice, "Forgive those who have hurt you but once you forgive you don't have to let them back in." Be willing to protect yourself, your heart, your soul and your peace of mind. So don't get caught up in titles, because you might end up disappointed. We are all humans on this journey called life. People are flawed and imperfect. Its not our job to shove people into categories, it is our job to love, forgive, accept and appreciate one another.