I’ve never heard this before. Maybe you have. Maybe I’m just late to the party. It wouldn’t be the first time.
That party where I missed the quote.
But let’s unpack this. How many times have you been let down in your life? How many times were those let downs because of expectations – expectations you put on another person? Sometimes those expectations are completely warranted. Promises are promises, after all.
When we talk about relationships, though, things get complicated. The expectations we set up for ourselves and each other become a minefield of disappointments and, well, resentment.
What can we do about it? What do I usually tell you to do on this blog? Change your thoughts and change your world. That’s right. We’re going to adjust our attitudes.
Technically it should be “you’ve,” but who’s keeping track. Not me.
Am I about to tell you to lower your expectations?
Well…how about adjust them…?
Expecting your family to have the same standards of cleanliness and organization as you is not only unfair, it’s unrealistic. As I’ve probably said before, understand that you’re cleaning for you. Sure, everyone should take on household chores and responsibilities. But asking them to do them to your perfect standards may be a step too far, you know?
Expecting your boss to recognize your awesome work at every turn, or even at all, is unrealistic. It’s not their job. It isn’t. Sure, it may be one of the qualities of a good and effective manager, but a good and effective manager also has many other qualities. Your desire for praise is your problem. Walking around with that expectation is setting you up for resentment, and it’s totally misplaced. Save that resentment. I’m sure you’ve got an appropriate place to put it.
Box it up. Store it for a rainy day. Totally healthy.
Expecting to get anywhere on time when you’ve gotten out of bed late, expecting to get through the grocery line quickly, expecting others to be polite, expecting everything to work out the way you want it to just because it should have… It can all make us so grouchy, mean, unbearable, and…resentful. You can either adjust your expectations as a whole or adjust them on the fly (looks like I’m not getting out of here on time today, and I can’t control that, so… *sound and feeling of you letting go*).
Hopefully you’ve taken a moment to reflect on some of the expectations you’ve set up in your life. How realistic are they? Are they mostly okay, or could they use some work? I can tell you it’s not easy, because expectations are really a reflection of what we expect of ourselves. And I won’t even get into how that transfers onto our poor kids. But that’s your assignment for the week: examine your expectations and figure out where you can make some improvements. It’s a step toward freeing yourself from this cycle of negative thought and opening yourself to happiness and gratitude.