You expect something is going to happen a certain way and then it doesn’t. You expect to hear some special words from someone and then you don’t. A scenario or event plays out differently in real life than it did in your head. You are left disappointed. You may be angry. You may feel let down and/or frustrated. We are confronted with these feelings when someone or something hasn’t met our expectations.
Expectation is the root of all heartache.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we set ourselves up for disappointment? Why is it so hard to allow each experience to come as it is without the expectation attached to it?
I have expected behaviors from people and been very disappointed when I didn’t get what I wanted. I have even gone a step further and created all kinds of drama in my mind as to why said behaviors weren’t happening. What purpose does this serve? It accomplishes absolutely nothing to anticipate something you have no control over.
The following is a twofold strategy to help manage expectations.
1.Identify the expectation
Think about what it is you are expecting from a person or situation. Identify what it is you want and why.
“I really want the job interview to go well because I really want that job!”
2. Tell yourself that you will be alright regardless of the outcome.
Reach for a thought that makes you feel better in the moment.
“Even if I don’t get hired I’ll be fine. Maybe it isn’t the best opportunity for me. Everything happens for a reason. I’m going to go in there and do my best and whatever happens happens. I’m not going to expect anything either way.”
This coping tool allows your wishes, desires and hopes to be validated while simultaneously providing you with comfort and an opening to accept any given outcome. This two step exercise actually helps to release the expectation and puts you back in a position of control.
When we are in a state of expectation, we give our power away. When we are in a state of acceptance, we take that power back.
It’s kind of like that thing about last minute plans being the most fun. They are often the most fun because there are no expectations attached to the experience.
When you release expectations you are free to enjoy things for what they are rather than what you think they should be.