Over the last 2 weeks, I received a lot of emails and Facebook messages concerning my last two blogs about surrendering and AEOs – agendas, expectations and obligations. Most of the comments were very humbling, supportive and uplifting but, there were a few that made me look at what I wrote from a new perspective. I want to thank the people who took the time to write and help me see this new awareness.
Here is an excerpt from one of the emails that encapsulates what the others said. “Glenn, thank you for sharing your life experience in your blog. I identified so much with what you wrote. I have one question though. Is it not a good thing to have certain AEOs when you are in a committed relationship?”
When I read the above message along with others that asked the same question, I knew I had failed to address both sides of the coin. I realized I only wrote about the dark side of AEOs and not the lite side.
When we enter into a new relationship or make a decision to commit ourselves to our partner, we all attach some AEOs - agendas, expectation and obligations to our decision. The difference between the lite and dark side of the AEOs are the intentions behind the thoughts.
In the last blog I wrote about the dark side of agendas. These intentions would include agendas such as a focus on the self and seeking to receive rather than to give. The agenda of having others understand them before taking the time to understand others. Flipping the coin over, let’s look at some agendas of the lite side. I believe it is an empowered and positive agenda if you view committed relationships as a place to give and be of service to others. To be inspired to make your partner smile and bring joy to their lives. To view the relationship as a space to challenge yourself to stretch past your fears, see new perspectives and grow.
How about expectations? I would imagine most people have a lite expectation that their partner treat them and their family with love, honor and respect. That their partner would not lie, deceive or manipulate any situation for their own self-serving agenda. A dark side of expectations could be when someone expects their partner to provide them with everything they need to make them happy and fulfill all of their dreams. The problem with this is the expectation is one sided and they are not taking the responsibility of making themself happy. The focus for the lite side of this kind of expectation would be what that person expects of themselves to add to the others life and not their own.
Obligations? This is my favorite. We humans love to obligate others and events for determining our happiness and level of fulfillment. It is unfortunate that people enter into relationships with this intention. When we consciously or unconsciously obligate someone to do or not do something, we are saying that the act of that which we obligated that person is more important to us then that person themselves. This is not true love! This is an ego or emotionally wounded driven focus intended to selfishly dictate the direction and destiny of the relationship. The lite obligation would be for our partner to be honest, to live by a standard of integrity and to SHOW UP as their authentic self.
Like everything else, there is a lite and dark side to AEOs. We are wonderfully imperfect humans and everything in life is 80/20. We are all guilty of injecting dark AEOs into our relationships. But, that is where we have the golden opportunity to learn, stretch and grow. In this process we become aware of our dark intentions and make a conscious choice to flip the coin to the lite side.
It is in this journey of growth that our partner will stop moving away and instead move towards. It is in this space of responsibility and ownership, that safety, certainty and trust is built. It is in this relational space of honesty, integrity and character that the bonds of love are built that will last a lifetime.