A life lesson that can be a very difficult “pill to swallow” is to accept and understand that others can’t give you what they lack. What do I mean by this guiding principle? If you expect someone to give what you think you may emotionally need and they don’t possess that quality, you will most likely feel disappointed. As an example, perhaps you feel you want another person to sympathize with you regarding something that maybe a current troublesome issue or event. You may hold certain expectations that they “should” be able to fully commiserate with you. To empathize is the ability to participate or share in another’s feelings or emotions. To be able to feel what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes for the moment. Whenever someone is incapable of being supportive in that way means they lack those skills. One cannot give what one may have never received. They may have never had that behavior modeled for them when they were growing up. They didn’t learn how from watching their parents or significant others as role models. Sadly, they may have never learned to operate better from their own dysfunctional upbringing. We all learn from what we live. In addition, another contributing factor is that the individual could be self serving and self absorbed to the point that they can not engage meaningfully to be of support. They might not be willing to be compassionate in your time of need. It could be out of their innate incapacity to viscerally feel and experience someone else’s pain or discomfort.
Giving and receiving unconditional love is another prime example. If someone was raised in a loveless home environment they maybe incapable of giving love freely. For this person to be able to deeply care for another, the love given maybe with “strings attached.” Love is offered but one must meet certain criteria or even performance standards that are based on achievement levels. This hidden agenda sends a powerful and potentially harmful message that one is only loved by what someone does for them in serving their selfish needs. One ought to be loved just by the virtue of who they are. Thus, if you are expecting love from someone and they lack the intrinsic desire to give these feelings in return, the result is hurtful and the relationship will suffer.
Therefore, the next time you find yourself expecting someone to respond with love or empathy (as above examples) and you don’t receive it – it’s highly likely that the other person cannot give what they don’t have to give. It’s hard to acknowledge this in life. However, you can decide to go on knowing that is who they are. It is not a reflection on your character or integrity.