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Today, notice what you think that causes stress in your body. Stress is a leading cause of illness. Stress is often caused by your own beliefs, thoughts and actions regarding circumstances, rather than just by the circumstances themselves. Today, notice your thoughts that cause stress. Are you sure these thoughts are based on truth?

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Is It Too Much To Ask Others To Be Reliable?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
May 28, 2017



Are you often angry and frustrated when people let you down by not doing what they say they are going to do?



AngerA woman asked me the following question:

"It just seems easier to wish others would be civilized enough to just do what we would like sometimes (even more so for those whom we rely upon and are supposed to care about us). Why wouldn't they want to please us? Is this too much to ask or expect really? Why can't we expect to rely on others?"

Wouldn't it be great if we could rely on others to do what they say they are going to do? Do you always do what you say you are going to do? I do, but I actually find it somewhat rare to be able to rely on others to do what they say they will do – so I've learned not to expect it.

Unrealistic Expectations

If someone isn't taking loving care of themselves and if they keep letting themselves down, is it realistic to expect them to be reliable and do what they say they are going to do for you? If they aren't caring about themselves, how can you expect them to care about you? If they keep abandoning themselves – not speaking up for themselves, not listening to themselves, not getting places on time, not taking care of their space or their car, not paying bills on time, not eating well or getting enough exercise or sleep – why would you expect them to be reliable and caring with you?

It doesn't take long to see if someone is being reliable and loving with themselves, so the challenge is to be honest with yourself. Is it loving to yourself to expect an unreliable person to be reliable?

It IS too much to ask or expect an unreliable person to be reliable. You have no control over whether or not they operate with enough integrity to do what they say they will do – for themselves or for you. What you do have control over is whether or not you choose to be with unreliable people and whether you then expect them to change.

Beyond Frustration

I hear anger and frustration in your question, but perhaps you need to look within to see if your inner child is angry with you for expecting unreliable people to be reliable, and for choosing to be with unreliable people and then complain about them. The real issue for you to explore is why you choose to be with unreliable people if this is so frustrating to you.

I often choose to be with unreliable people because they might have many other qualities that I value. Because I don't expect them to be reliable, I don't count on them. If I know they are always late, then I don't make dates to meet them somewhere. I'd rather visit them or pick them up and go together than wait for them somewhere. Or I'd rather have them come to my house where I can plan on expecting them at least an hour later than they say they will be there.

I don't ask unreliable people to do things that are important for me to get done because I know that will lead to frustration. I try not to hire unreliable people to work for me, and if they prove themselves to be unreliable, I let them go.

Taking Your Eyes Off Them

You put yourself in a victim position when you complain about people being unreliable, instead of being reliable to yourself and choosing not to rely on unreliable people. You can be angry, judgmental and frustrated but that isn't going to change an unreliable person. You can keep expecting that they will do what they say they will do, but your expectations have no effect on them and will always lead to you feeling upset and frustrated.

So, I suggest you take your eyes off unreliable people and control what you can control, which is your choices regarding who you rely on and who you don't.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.



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