Posted on August 10, 2010 by Michelle Miller, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
Wouldn't it be ideal if our expectations were perfectly matched to all our experiences? Unfortunately, at times, we set our expectations so high ...
Wouldn’t it be ideal if our expectations were perfectly matched to all our experiences? Unfortunately, at times, we set our expectations so high that we find ourselves disappointed. Or, they are so low that our motivation and fears immobilize us. When people or situations don’t meet our expectations we become disillusioned. Expectations can challenge, strengthen, and lift us, and they can also disappoint us and deflate our confidence. Therefore, it is up to us to set reasonable expectations.
As human beings we are equipped to think, analyze, and project. So it is perfectly natural to imagine how things could be.The barometer is set with our expectations. Our expectations are the incentive to head in a specific direction.
Each person has a different perception of what their ideal situation is. For some, it could be the expectation of being married to the perfect person. For others, it’s the perfect job, the perfect house or even the perfect vacation. The list goes on and on. And our expectations become our driving force.
Yet, sometimes, we struggle when our expectations aren’t achieved. If you notice continual disappointment, it may be that you need to lower your expectations somewhat. If your expectations are already so low that you think things will never work out for you, it may be a good idea to allow yourself to expect a little more. When nobody around you seems to measure up (either high or low), perhaps it is time to question yourself. Are you being realistic? Furthermore, if you find yourself frustrated or disappointed, then the best approach is to assess your expectations so that you can modify and adjust them.
Mary’s story is a small example of a struggle with expectation. Mary was fulfilling her court-ordered time in a recovery center. She spent a long weekend doing nothing except smoking cigarettes and watching television. All weekend long, she looked forward to Monday because she was scheduled for “pet therapy.” Mary warmly imagined that some cute puppies would visit, and she would get to play with them. When Monday arrived, an old, slow-moving dog came stumbling into the room, plopped down in the corner, and fell asleep. Mary was so disappointed! As a result, Mary’s preconceived expectation had set her up for disappointment.
Wasting your energy projecting and ruminating over a preconceived outcome is counterproductive. How accurate can you actually be? Instead of hanging onto unrealistic expectations, imagine letting go of them! Let go of the way you think things should be so you can actually begin to develop an appreciation for the way things really are.
With or without any expectations, you end up in the same place; you will either be pleasantly surprised, satisfied, or disappointed. So by letting go of idealistic expectations you save yourself the time spent worrying about the outcome or overanalyzing the future.
I suggest shifting your expectations to include a common theme of appreciation and acceptance. For example, you can expect to have gratitude for who we are. You can expect to have appreciation for the people in your life. You can expect that a bad mood will pass. When faced with a conflict you can expect that a solution will be found. You can expect that with self-assurance and determination good things can be done today. In return, you can expect to create a life that feels good each day at a time.