On Getting What We Want
HandFist When people don't do what we expect and therefore desire of them, it says as much if not more about our expectations and desires as it does anything about those people. Believing the problem lies entirely with the other can lead to all sorts of judgmental thoughts and actions on our part, variations on "What's wrong with them?"

We might as well disparage the whole universe while we're at it, which we do.

If we express ourselves at that point, it's classic passive-aggressive behavior then, in psychological parlance. "Hey, why haven't you done what you didn't know I wanted you to do?!" Really, what we might not directly see is that what we’ve wanted the other person to do has been impossible for them when we’ve wanted it anyway, since if it weren’t impossible it would probably already have been done.

When things like this flare up, it's a chance to clearly see the desiring machine for what it is: a selfish mechanism which functions to raise divisions—between self and other, between self and everything else, between mind and body, and so on. Noticing a flaring of selfishness as such kind of drops a wrench into its function, however. This wrench metaphor works in another sense since a wrench is a tool: it takes practice and eventual skillfulness to use accurately.

When we more readily see frustrations with others as simply a product of desire, secretly or openly, for people to be the way we want them to be, suitable action (if any) can be more practically available. Such action might be merely taking no action—saying nothing or doing nothing—if that's what the situation calls for, or it could be making an expression in a compassionate way. In any case, what we do can take into account the fact that the other person is also experiencing particular wishes, desires, and frustrations of which we might know very little, maybe even ones directed at us!

Religions connect at this sort of compassion for and forgiveness of others over what we want. We should do the same for expectations of us, too, though, be they self-composed or received from others. The desire for our functioning to be different than what it immediately is capable of is wanting something other than what the whole of everything is currently offering. "God, damn it!" is commonly said when we are frustrated with the way things are. It's a telling expression! We curse all for what we perceive to be its blocking of our needs.

Complaints, violence, and other communications of anger are thus always self-defeating machines based in impeded, unrealistic wishes; they are a present moment of stark separation and distance. Seeing them for what they are, even if doing so takes place after the fact, is connecting, or reconnecting in a way. Getting used to acting out of anger drives others away and drives ourselves from ourselves; it drives us further and further from the flow of natural working, something otherwise always already available for us to see, accept, and perhaps with which to work. Angry action doesn’t get what it wants. We actually already know this, on some level.

What is going on might be uncomfortable, lovely, painful, or wonderful for us—yet demanding more or other of it than it can give is losing direct sight of what could otherwise be done to perhaps patiently achieve goals. Immediately putting goals ahead of our being and the beings in our lives, however realistic those goals might be, though, is trying to break things apart in order to put them back together in some fashion we see as preferable vs. the way they actually go together to form what is happening, which may not meet our expectations at the time. Nevertheless, that frustrating instant might be an ample moment to look at and moreover question what we want, ask why we even want it, and (if doing so still seems reasonable by then) consider how best to actually get it.