To come out of the tunnel of chaos, you must clean yourself of ego, prejudice, expectations, etc… This part in the journey, we call “Catharsis”. It’s a latin term meaning “to clean out”. One of the places in our conversations with this team dealt specifically within the arena of expectations vs. hopes. Let’s expand that more here.
When I expect something of someone and I do not receive it, I begin to harbor very negative emotions towards them. But if I rather hold out my hopes towards them, expressing what I would like, but do not expect, the level of conflict will be greatly condensed. Here’s an example:
I would hope that people in my community would watch our kids once a week so that Natalie and I don’t have to pay a babysitter. NOW, that’s a fair thing to hope for, but when it doesn’t happen (because people are busy, they don’t want to watch 3 kids by themselves, whatever…) I can’t be disappointed. We made the choice to be married, have three kids, etc… the burden of responsibility rests on our shoulders. To get what we need is our responsibility, not our community’s.
Now let’s flip this. If I EXPECT my community to watch my kids and they don’t, what happens? I get angry, I harbor negative feelings towards others that aren’t fair, etc…
To move into deep community with people requires me to relinquish my expectations and reframe them into my hopes. Be careful though, I think you still need to have certain expectations of people and make those known (like, I expect you not to physically harm me when we greet each other, or whatever…) but I would suggest that 9 times out of 10, conflict that arises in a community stems from people having expectations that should remain at the hope level.
In this place of Catharsis, we must evaluate those things we must clean from ourselves (like expectations) so that we can willingly hear and tell the truth to and from one another.