Counselling in Wokingham – Fit For Purpose?

Paul Cockayne – 07791

Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page

Here is an extract from the Citizens Advice website:-

“When you buy something, consumer law says the item must be fit for purpose. For example, a toaster must be able to make toast and a washing machine must be able to wash clothes. As well as being fit for their normal purpose goods must also be fit for any specific purpose that the seller told you they would be fit for.”

purpose1When you buy something, you have an expectation about what it will do for you, and (assuming you are not hoping that your washing machine will make toast) the law backs you up on that – if the item does not live up to your (reasonable) expectations, you can get your money back.

Our lives are full of expectations, aren’t they? If you have a job, your employer expects certain things from you and you expect that you will get paid for what you do. You will also expect certain things from your colleagues and your boss. Not all these expectations are well-defined or documented, of course – and so, for example, your expectations of your boss may not exactly match what she or he feels are her or his responsibilities towards you.

purpose2I looked out of the window this morning at my water-logged garden and was disappointed – my expectation, I realized, was that at this time of year the weather would be rather better. Perhaps that expectation is not realistic in the UK in April, but whether it is or not, sadly, I cannot return the weather and get my money back.

There are no guarantees safeguarding most of our expectations, particularly when it comes to our relationships with our friends, families and loved ones. When people do not behave as we expect them to, we can end up feeling disappointed and let down.

The law provides some protection here, in the case of marriage, just as it does with the dishwasher that doesn’t work – if your partner is violent towards you, or deserts you, or cheats on you, you can file for divorce. Another justification for divorce is “unreasonable behaviour” – a woolly term that, in it’s woolliness recognizes the impossibility for defining what we can reasonably expect from our spouses.

Most situations are woolly and undefined, of course. What do you expect from your friends if you become ill or depressed? What do you expect from your children when you get old? What do you expect from your partner in terms of practical help or the amount of time you spend together?

purpose3Most people don’t think about these questions until the problem arises. Much of the time, we make assumptions – we form expectations – without realising we are doing so. These expectations might well be based on the way our parents behaved towards each other, and towards us, and towards others – so they are unspoken and often deeply ingrained in us. They may be positive expectations or negative ones – they may be reasonable expectations or unreasonable ones – they may match with our partner’s expectations or they may not.

When you feel disappointed with the way someone has behaved towards you, it’s worth asking yourself what your expectations were, and whether the other person was aware of your expectations. If you expect your washing machine to make toast all your breakfasts will be disappointing ones.

About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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