Are Expectations Controlling Your Life or Guiding Your Life?
Our lives are built on expectations. Everything we do on a day to day basis is in response to our expectations. We have expectations about everything, from people, to places to things. Based on our expectations, when we do something, we believe a certain chain of events will occur. But how reasonable are our expectations? And can we really measure the reasonableness of our expectations? There are some things to think about when weighing how reasonable our expectations are:
- The focus of our expectations isn’t just limited to us individually. We have expectations of others as well. We need to understand the limitations of the expectations we have of others. Our control over others is extremely limited.
- We may have an expectation that we can control others’ actions, but in reality we have no control over others’ actions.
- When we’re just dealing with ourselves we can be pretty assured of what will ultimately happen. However, we never move in an isolated vacuum. Keep in mind that our expectations are just that, expectations, be prepared that they may need to change. Be open to changing expectations.
- Don’t get hung up on how you expect others might respond. Worrying about other people’s responses becomes a needless waste of energy. When we throw others into the equation the variables become many and the outcomes almost infinite. We can’t plan for infinite outcomes.
- When we interact with someone, don’t automatically expect them to respond in the same way we would. Many times we are at a loss when someone does something totally different then what we would do. Bottom line is we need to accept the fact that people won’t always respond in the manner we anticipate.
- Instead of being resentful or getting upset when our expectations aren’t met, we should focus our energy on understanding why the expectation wasn’t met. Again focus on weighing whether or not the expectations were reasonable. If not, why not.
- When a person’s response doesn’t meet our expectations don’t take it personally. Expectations shouldn’t be etched in stone give them room to grow and change.
- Do stay unemotional and rational with expectations. Expectations should be treated as a tool we can use, not a character flaw that we should latch onto at all costs.
- We should set expectations based on actual facts. We can dream, but know that difference between reality and dreams. Stay grounded in reality when setting expectations.
- Base expectations on the most likely outcome, but realize that probability isn’t the same as certainty.
We all have expectations. But expectations shouldn’t take control of our lives. We need to continually assess whether our expectations are reasonable, that we use them as a tool to reduce our stress, and let them help us predict the outcomes of situations. If that’s not happening we need to reassess the reasonableness of our expectations.