Expectations...Friend or Foe?
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Something to ponder.
How often do we let ourselves get upset, let down, or taken off track because our expectation of something didn't live up to what had hoped for? Expectation can be a one way ticket to never feeling satisfied, fulfilled or happy. Expectation is loaded with emotions that often leave us wanting more and feeling jilted the more times we expect and the 'something' doesn't live up to that expectation. Ironically, the more often we have expectations the more likely we are to get less out of something then what we had hoped for.
But there is a difference between expectations of yourself, or others, and that is where we get ourselves into trouble.
Expectations of ourselves are things like setting goals or desires with an action that is required to obtain them. It can also look like a boundary, setting an boundary of what you expect for yourself, or what we expect as a bar of measurement from our relationships, jobs, physical health and income.
Where we get ourselves into emotional trouble is when we place expectations on others. We expect them to act a certain way or to do a certain thing. Our expecting others to do what we would like in any area of life sets us up to be disappointed, for the very reason that we have zero ability to control another person's life, what they think, feel, how they will act or conduct themselves. Most of us can't even manage our own lives but somehow expect others to do what we think they should.
So, knowing that to have expectations of others is a slippery slope to disappointment, how do we then manage what we 'hope' others will do, think or feel when it comes to something that is important to us?! The key lies within focusing on what you want and how you can contribute to the outcome, rather then another person. Now I know you may think that in some situations that is impossible, but let me give you an example. If you have hopes that someone will follow through with a project and they completely drop the ball, or a friend makes a promise and they don't follow through, it can be not only frustrating but also feel like they don't care about you or the consequences it may cause you.
Here is the solution, which may seem simple, but it is how anyone who is wildly successful in this world operates and continues to move forward towards what they want in life, not getting derailed but disappointment.
The lose the story/emotion around the event. Event + story/emotion = problem. Event + no story/emotion = no problem.
Sound ridiculous? Give it a try. The next time you have an expectation around someone else's actions and they don't fulfill or follow through, detach yourself from the emotions around it, don't make up stories that get you more worked up. View it for what it was. They dropped the ball. Okay. Now how do we resolve it? What needs to be done now? Or, they let you down, a family member said something or did something that was hurtful. Okay, now you can empower yourself to view it as an event, not attach a story around it of how unworthy you are because they didn't follow through, or how they are jerks...just let it be what it was. They didn't follow through. Now what is next? Attend to what needs to be attended to, get on with your day, flip the page in the book and keep moving forward. Set boundaries now around that relationship so you fulfill the expectations that you have for your own life.
You are the only person that you can have expectations over, and what we all should be expecting from ourselves is a higher level of awareness around what emotions we are letting ourselves feel because of our expectations of others.
The only person or thing on this planet we have any ability to be let down by, is ourselves, so start today to focus more on what you can change about your own emotions and expectations, and let the actions of others become just events in the course of your life!
~ Monika xo