How often have you had expectations and then have been let down?
We all place expectations on our friends, our family, our job, ourselves, even strangers.
Expectations are filled with A LOT of “Should” or “Should have”.
I am talking about…
- A should have been there for me more.
- B should have asked me how I was doing today.
- C didn’t congratulate me in the way I felt they should.
- X didn’t call me at the time I felt they should call.
- Y didn’t reply to my text message as fast as I felt they should.
- Z didn’t use the words that I felt they should have to apologise to me.
You get the idea!
Now let me distinguish this from someone that is disrespectful of you and your boundaries, because this is very different. You have the right to step away from any one who are downright rude or nasty, that belittles you or constantly abusing you or your resources. This is not what I am talking about here.
When we place expectations on someone, what we are actually doing is putting them on a pedestal. We are setting them up to fail. And it’s a dangerous ride. So when that person fails to meet our expectations, they fall off their pedestal and we fall right down with them.
Yep, it’s that disappointed, that-person-let-me-down sinking feeling. The expectation hangover.
This only fuels our ego to believe that we are separate, that we are not supported or that no one cares about or loves us. But really all this does is disempowers us and puts us in a constant state of victim mode. We are relying on others to make us happy which is a dangerous practice because we are each in charge of our own happiness.
What gives us the right to dictate how someone should act, what they should say or when they should call us! This tendency comes from a place of judgment and frankly is SO exhausting. You may (without even realising it) do this 50, 100, 500 times a day. Now imagine your happiness bubble getting a pin prick each time you do, and we wonder why we feel like shit!
People will let us down. That is simply human nature. People f*#& up and make mistakes!
Once you accept that only YOU are in charge of your happiness and understand that everyone is doing the very best they can with the knowledge and experience they have, you take yourself of the hook. There is freedom from releasing the expectations of others and empowering yourself to treat your own happiness like a full time job.
Tips to break the fall when someone lets you down:
1. Witness your fear – be the non judgmental witness. Acknowledge when you have placed expectations on someone.
2. Forgive. Forgive yourself for the judgment of the other person. Forgive the other person for not being the person YOU thought they should be.
3. Release your expectations. As I mentioned, we are all doing the best we can do given our experiences in life and our current knowledge. Remember, we don’t always know what is going on in someone else’s life which may explain their behaviour we don’t “approve”. So show everyone some kindness.
4. Be the example. Treat others how YOU wish to be treated, be it your partner, family member, friend or strangers. Show everyone kindness and love, and watch the ripple effect this has on your environment.
Take an inventory of how many times a day that you complain because someone didn’t act the way you had expected them too. I think you will be surprised by how many times you do this, I know I was!
Let me know in the comments below any “a-huh” moments you had reading this blog. Have you ever felt the expectation hangover?