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We were created for relationships and our relationships challenge us in many ways. In fact, we can only grow into the fullness of ourselves by bumping into the reality of each other. At the same time, we set ourselves up for much frustration when we live entirely to please and meet the expectations of others.

Without a doubt, there are many things we wouldn’t even consider on our own. We’re clearly influenced by each other. And this is as it should be.

Relationships expose our immaturity and force us to grow up and confront many things we wouldn’t otherwise.

Relationships give us the opportunity to learn how to love someone who, at times, is radically different than ourselves. And, for this, we grow into our better.

All the same, allowing others to influence us in meaningful ways is not the same as living for them and desperately trying to meet their expectations for us.

Everyone has an opinion. And many have opinions on who we should be and how we should show up in the world.

Perhaps this is well meaning and they’re simply trying to encourage us to become the best version of ourselves. At other times, their selfishness is exposed as they merely want us to satisfy their own personal desires.

Whatever the case, attempting to conform to their expectations sets up a no-win situation for us both.

On the one hand, they’re frustrated and mad because they believe we’re holding out on them by not giving them what they desire. And, on the other hand, we’re left feeling incompetent and unworthy because we can never seem to live up to their expectations.

In the end, while we allow our relationships to refine us, we’re ultimately living to meet God’s standards. And sometimes this will be pleasing to others. And sometimes it won’t. But it is God’s opinion of us that matters the most.

Allow your relationships to shape and mold you in many ways. But remember you’re not living for others. It’s God’s expectations you’re trying to meet.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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