Expectations Screw Things Up

Having expectations of other people’s performance can often lead to disappointment. Even a “sure thing,” when it comes true, can be a bit disappointing because you expected the outcome. Controlling your expectations is easier said than done, but worth the effort. I know people who celebrate their birthdays by basking in their unfulfilled expectations of what they anticipated from the people around themselves. The drama includes every manor of disappointment. Sometimes they did not get a card, or call, or present, or big enough present, or a large enough party, or…. the list can be endless…

Since we can not control what other people do, we can open ourselves for shattered expectations if we expect an outcome and the other person does not do what we might expect.

Have you ever had your expectation met and feel that it was not as satisfying as it could have been because you felt that you knew (or expected) the outcome? This turns a positive into a slightly negative experience. There may be times that you can recall when you did not expect an outcome and feel surprised and pleased by even a simple gesture, like getting flowers delivered “out of the blue.” Many people get disappointed when they travel or attend a performance where they knew exactly what was to be seen/heard and this experience did not surpass their expectations.

The interactions with people are the most difficult when you have expectations. For example, you thought you did well at the interview (or client meeting) and you find out you did not get the job (or order) that you expected you’d get. When you expect a certain recognition and it does not manifest in as grand a way as you would have liked, it often takes away from the celebration.

Expectations that are not met are stressful. We already have enough external stressors so why do we need more internally driven stressors? The lack of control over the actions, or inactions, of others is a traditionally strong stressor. Learning to control your expectations is not easy, however, breaking away from self-victimizing yourself can be a very important skill to develop. Also, appreciation of love and life is generally easier, and healthier, when expectations are not planted. Please consider living in the moment, without memories of the past or fears of the unknown future. Celebrate every moment of life for the experience you are receiving, even the difficult lessons we must bump up against. Visualize success in your activities but minimize your expectations… A difficult balancing act to achieve.

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