Hazardous Expectations

I have felt like I have been pushed to perform at my highest for as long as I can remember. My parents raised me to have pride in ownership and expressed the importance of work ethic. The military honed these traits, trained me to out perform my peers and introduced me to the art of trusting others, because each of our lives depended on it. Over the years I have discovered not everyone has as high standards as I do, and imposing my standards and expectations on them can be lethal to our relationship, something that I’m still unsure of, because it might be worth in it in the long haul.

The first example that really left an impact on me was with my brother. He has had his fair share of problems and they peaked in 2014. As his older and only brother, it was a no brainer that I was going help. I insisted that he come to Florida and move in with me. I told him I would help him find a job and get him on his feet. This worked for awhile, but eventually I started asking more and more out of him. I expected him to wake up when I did and commence his job search, I wanted him to help out around the house to earn his keep, to get involved in the neighborhood to build his reputation, I even tried to start a business for him. Most of this was unsuccessful, which eventually contributed to the end of our relationship and ultimately his attempted suicide.

My brother at the time was highly addicted to heroin, which explains a lot, but I still feel that I was to blame for most of his failures. This is something I still live with today, but as time has passed I have had the opportunity to reflect and realize that possibly I was being too harsh on him and expected more out of him than he could handle. It’s difficult for me to emphasize with someone that has a drug addiction and the grip it has on their life. I haven’t experienced that before, and for obvious reasons I don’t plan on it, but I could never understand why he wasn’t motivated to do anything. I looked at how my life was structured, what motivated me, why my work ethic is so high, how I succeed and forced all that down his throat. At the time I didn’t think I was making things worse, but you and I both know that was not beneficial for him. I struggle with this a lot.

Since then our relationship is back on track, he is clean and seems more motivated than ever to make something out of his life. Is this something that I helped with or did he did he just need time?

I see potential people in a lot of people, especially those that are closest to me, and I want to help them unlock what I believe they are truly capable of. In my mind when I’m pushing someone, it’s because I believe in them and want them to fight and discover their abilities, the way my parents and the military did for me. But I now understand, this doesn’t work for everyone.

So where did I go wrong? Am I expecting too much, is my approach wrong or am I just an asshole with high standards that needs to keep them to myself? I still don’t know the answer, but I will still continue pushing myself and hopefully be able to influence others to greatness. I realize this is a process and everyone has a different pace, I need to respect that.

P.S. If you have a similar experience that you would like to share, please feel free to share with me!

*Please feel free to follow me on Instagram @ shane_burgman or FB @ shaneburgman.


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