Most of our conflicts with other people have a very few root causes. The one thing that magnifies these conflicts is our minds constant desire to predict the future, at least in the short term, so that we may control that future.

Where this gets us in trouble is that we try to predict the behavior of those around us and we develop expectations for how they should behave.

These expectations are at the root of most conflicts.

Conflict occurs so frequently because our predictions are based on our own experiences, our own goals, and our own circumstances. Other people do not always share these same circumstances.

Further, we tend to judge people not as individuals bound by their own circumstances and pressures different from our own. Instead, we attribute their behavior to their personality, as who they are.

We can see our own circumstances and justify our own behavior, but we only see the results of their behavior.

So when people don’t behave how we predict, even though our predictions are completely made up in only our minds, we get angry at other people when they do not behave according to our made up predictions.

When you extinguish your made up expectations about what other people should do, you are no longer disappointed when they do not.

Part of this originates in the idea that people owe us something. The person in front of you doesn’t have to hold the door for you. They don’t owe you anything. We expect so many things that from others that even the slightest diversion from what we expect causes us stress.

Give up this idea that people owe you. You won’t need to control them and won’t be disappointed.


Image courtesy Lali

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