We all have this one in common, we all create expectations that lead to disappointment.
There are two sides to expectations. We have to manage our own expectations and we have to be aware of others' expectations of us. Disappointment is a two-way street.
It's human to feel disappointed now and then. As an optimist I tend to hope for the best in situations, although it doesn't always work out the way I want.
Having had my share of disappointments, I've become more aware of my expectations and learned how to hold them in check. We become disappointed when our expectations of ourselves, others, situations or things are unrealistic and not met. They create small crises that we either forget about in a few days, or they can create massive issues that last a lifetime.
Managing our expectations is important for a number of reasons, the main one being our own sense of happiness. The less disappointment we face, the happier we are. The second most important reason is that our expectations tend to create demands, requests or orders on other people, which causes stress in relationships. The more we allow ourselves to feel disappointmented, the more unhappy, unmotivated and stressed we become.
There is a better solution: become aware of and modify your expectations.
Examples of how expectations by others and ourselves play out follow...
Expectations set by others of what we can achieve
A Gestalt psychotherapist,Dawn Binkowski, notes that: "In my practice, I deal with clients who were told by their parents that they were destined for greatness. When that doesn't happen, they become lost, especially when there's no backup plan. Dealing with disappointment and mediocrity can be a huge challenge."
Expectations of ourselves
We often set unrealistically high expectations for ourselves. As Dawn points out, "they are always focusing on what's wrong and as a result, feel anxiety, and obsess. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and an endless cycle of high expectations leading to low self-esteem and increased anxiety."
Our expectations stem from our beliefs, our beliefs flow from our needs.
Example - If I am lonely and call up a friend, I have an expectation that they will relieve my loneliness. If at the last minute they cancel, I will be disappointed, because they aren't going to fix my problem.
Notice that it's not their problem and they are probably not effected by the situation. The responsibility is on me. If I understand that I have made a request to my friend and if I allow them to make their own choice, I can be okay with what ever happens.
It would be worse if I'm explicit with my expectation of them because that creates a demand. It causes pressure on the relationship and if they still bail, then the disappointment is greater knowing I made a demand that was rebuffed. Sometimes disappointment can really hurt when it touches the ego and we take it personally.
Here are eight steps that will help you begin to short circuit your process of creating unrealistic expectations:
1. Become aware of expectations you are creating.
2. Understand the beliefs behind your expectations.
3. What are your needs in the situation? Are there other ways to meet them?
4. Is your expectation a reasonable or a likely outcome?
5. When your expectation turns out to be incorrect, notice and adjust accordingly.
6. When you are disappointed, don't take it personally. Learn to love being with you.
7. Stay flexible: What other options do you have?
8. Be okay with "what is." - Acceptance will set you FREE!
Feel called to step into your greatness and break free of expectations, consider joining us in one of our upcoming programs - thegreatnessacademy.com.au
Until next time....
Keep dreaming, keep believing,
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About the Author
Lara Wilson lives in Melbourne Australia. Her passion is to educate, inspire and empower you towards creating the life you love, in your GREATNESS. As a Warrior for Greatness, Lara shares insights as a speaker, writer, facilitator, trainer and change agent.