Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Expectations



I saw this pinned on pinterest a week or so ago (thanks Megan for pinning it!) and thought it would make a good blog topic. This quote is commonly attributed to the Bard, but it's not found in any of his writings. Regardless of who said it, it holds a lot of truth.

Most of us have expectations for the people in our lives, and we expect life events to go a certain way, especially if we've planned them. Having some expectations is a good thing - you don't want to be living with a vagabond fool spouse or endure crappy working conditions because you didn't strive for better - but getting too caught up in expectations is setting yourself up for disappointment. Having a baseline of how you should be treated is good - going off the rails based on unrealistic expectations is not.

To avoid disappointment and heartache in almost any situation, examine and adjust your expectations.

When things don't go how we think they should, we say "Why me?" or "It's not fair!"To the first point, why not you? To the second, it's my contention that nothing in life is fair - we all have a different concept of what fair is, and 99.9% of the time the universe does not provide a fair that two of us can agree on. We're not always going to get what we expect, or what we think we deserve. That's just a fact of life.

There's a quote by Jack London that says, "Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes in playing a poor hand well." Focusing on what we should have prohibits us from maximizing what we do have.

photo: thedailydeception.com

It sucks to feel let down by someone important to you. How much of that is them actually sucking at life versus you not being clear about what you need from them? People are not mind readers, and even though we think they should know what we need or want because they know us so well/long/etc, the fact is that sometimes we have to tell them. Now, if you tell them and they STILL suck, give them the boot. On the double.

Consider having zero expectations...

"If you expect nothing from anybody, you're never disappointed." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“If you expect nothing, you can never be disappointed. Apart from a few starry-eyed poets or monks living on a mountaintop somewhere, however, we all have expectations. We not only have them, we need them. They fuel our dreams, our hopes, and our lives like some super-caffeinated energy drink.” 
― Tonya Hurley, Homecoming


That would be nice, right? But we all know that it's unrealistic to go through life with NO expectations. They sneak in the sides of our mind and whisper to us, beckoning us to believe and hope and expect good things. Being conscious of them and managing them is what's important, along with always knowing that you are the captain of your own ship. You can't expect others to fix things for you - that's your job. It's nice when they do, but don't depend on others to improve your universe. You are in charge of your life.



The sooner we learn that life isn't fair and things aren't always going to go our way, the happier we'll be. Going into something with little expectation is very freeing. You can be pleasantly surprised with a good outcome, and at the very least you'll appreciate the small things you miss when you're busy thinking about how things should be going differently. Managing expectations means less time wasted waiting for our desired outcome and more time being present and living.



The only person on this earth who is responsible for your happiness is you.  The moral of the story is that managing your expectations will increase your overall happiness.

When I say I'm going to my happy place, I mean here. Thanks for the pic Carol.  
The other moral of the story: eat your Wheaties. The Summer Olympics are coming.

Ciao.





8 comments:

  1. I have tried to subscribe to the adage that expectations are premeditated resentments. It makes it easier to let them go.

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    Replies
    1. I've not heard it put like that. I like it.

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  2. Really good and important reminders, Stephanie!

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  3. Just beautiful and perfect. I so look forward to these blogs and wish you could do this for a living. I like to subscribe to creative visualization & see things how I want them to be instead of the dreaded fear or worry attacking my brain. We all have to find our way on our life paths and this little blog is a big help to all. Will Retweet immediately & if I am ever allowed on the fbk I would like a zillion/trillion times! I will continue to heed the wishes on my chickens and be a tweeter!
    Love your content and happy MOMMMMMMMA thankful and grateful for everything!

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  4. I really needed to read this today!! Thank You!!
    Marnie

    ReplyDelete

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