People are strengthened by what people cannot give
By Jody Rust
What a person cannot give in a relationship is as important as what a person can give.
Growing up, I established expectations for my parents based on what I saw other parents do or not do for or with their children.
For a period of time, I spent my emotions bemoaning the absence of my parents at my soccer games or track meets. I do not think my father ever saw me play or run, and I remember my mother attending one game of soccer, at which she was upset because the coach did not give me much playing time, and his reasoning was unjustified — I was the only girl on the team.
If my mother had attended all of my games, the argument about playing time may have come up more often. It may have become a point of embarrassment or contention.
But because my mother attended that game and addressed the issue with the coaches only one time that I know of, I remember it as a time when my mother taught me to stand up for what I know is right or wrong There were several boys playing that were slower than me, and opponents were getting past them when they were not getting past me.
My mother was single, raising two children. She worked long hours and established high expectations at home.
She was more forgiving of me when I slipped up at school than she was when I slipped up at home.
My father’s income provided for my stepmother, brother, sister and child support for me. He worked all of the time on the railroad.
What my parents could not give me in attention at school events and supervision over homework, taught me self-reliance and instilled in me a drive to do my best — not to please my parents — but to please myself and help my teammates.
While everyone is different, and they perceive failed expectations differently, I make an effort to think of the disappointments I experience from others as lessons and assets for me.
If someone fails to pick me up when he or she was supposed to, I consider the lesson in patience and the test of my resourcefulness to find another way to get where I am going.
These moments of being left in the lurch have taught me to always have a back-up plan. Unfulfilled expectations have taught me to expect the best and prepare for the worst.
These examples are the extremes, but there are many other instances of situations when people have been unable to give me what I thought I should receive from them, and when they did not come through, something or someone else came through instead.
Patience and perseverance are born from what people cannot give you, even though disappointment, abandonment, anger or other emotions often accompany that absence of giving.
Once those emotions pass, a person can choose to think about the positives of what is not given, rather than brood over the negatives. If you do, you spend less time harboring negative feelings towards others and more time learning how much stronger a person you can become based on what others cannot give.