Expectations. Everybody has them…. I know I do!
Have you ever shopped for just the right gift for someone, the occasion finally arrives and you are beside yourself with excitement to watch them open this gift and….. crickets. No smile, no “thank you,” no squat, nothing. At that moment you are feeling utterly deflated, discouraged and maybe even a little resentful.
Or perhaps you’ve built up in your mind an upcoming visit with a friend or family. The long-awaited visit finally arrives and you are overjoyed about seeing them, the activities you’ve planned and quality time together. The next thing you know, nothing goes as planned, an argument ensues and you find yourself wishing for their quick departure.
Still yet, maybe you’ve planned a special birthday for your child. You’ve ordered a beautiful cake, shopped for gifts, invited friends for the big party, built in a few surprises, …..and their reaction is a lonnnnngggggg way off from what you were expecting or hoping. As a matter of fact, they come right out and tell you they don’t like the gift you were oh so happy to have found on a mega sale; the very item they couldn’t take their hands off in the store, for the tenth shopping trip. Disgust. Frustration.
Other times, inflated expectations exist within our home base. Take for instance, our marriages. We “expect” that our spouse will be that knight in shining armor that we’ve dreamed about or even read about in romance novels, seen in TV shows or even in the ‘chick flicks’ we women flock to. We’ve gone so far as to place these unrealistic expectations on our mate, only to be sorely disappointed. We find ourselves living in a dream world that simply does not exist. You simply cannot impose these inflated thoughts and beliefs upon another person, it just isn’t fair.
Living in an “expectant” state is quite dangerous, plain and simple. It can squash friendships and destroy marriages. It can leave us isolated and disillusioned. Honestly, as long as I’ve lived, I’m disappointed with myself that I’m still struggling in this department. I find myself disappointed time and time again by people. There, I said it. Why? You cannot control another person’s reaction or response. It is simply unreasonable to put such an expectation on them. Try flipping things around by putting yourself into someone else’s shoes for a change of pace.
So, what should we do, live a life of numbness by having no hope in others? I think not. I am learning it is best to severely lower my expectations with other people, letting them off the hook, so to speak. When I choose to do this, I find myself pleasantly surprised when I’m proven wrong and receive the very response or reaction I didn’t anticipate. For me, I’d rather live in the state of surprise rather than in the state of disappointment.