Life is a beautiful thing. One thing is for sure, nothing is perfect and nothing is guaranteed. So many things can happen, so many things can change. With that being said, why do we make things difficult by having so many expectations? Are you still waiting for that guy that keeps playing games to change? Do you wonder why that one friend is never truly excited for you? Does frustration take over you the minute you think about how hard your new job or school has been? Are you hard on a family member because they are not living up to your expectations? If any of this is the case, you are in essence, setting yourself up for disappointment. The truth is; having too many expectations is not that great.
Please do not confuse having expectations with having goals, hopes, and dreams. Although they are similar in a way, these are not the same thing. Having a goal(s) means having a direction in life that boosts your motivation to achieve a desired result. Having hope fuels your spirit; it is what keeps you going when things get rough.
The Danger of Having too Many Expectations
Having an expectation means having a preconceived idea of the way and when things will happen. Having expectations is not necessarily a bad thing, but you could be setting yourself up for disappointment if you have too many unrealistic expectations. I like to think of an unrealistic expectation as something you believe you have control over: people’s perception of you, people’s actions, or that things are supposed to be perfect and easy all the time etc., that you really don’t.
So after being let down, you constantly find yourself feeling hurt, angry, or discouraged. For example, have you ever been with someone who continues to show you their true colors? Deep down you know they are no good for you, but you stick around because in your mind you have already made future plans with this person and you are just waiting for them to get it together and be all that you want them to be? Yet time and time again, they show you they are unable to live up to your expectations. Or, do you resent starting your business because it is not as easy as you envisioned it to be? These are unrealistic expectations.
Things happen, life is a journey and we are only human. There is nothing wrong with wanting better for yourself and having a plan. But when you let the perfect image of the future you painted for yourself dictate your life, you will find yourself constantly dissatisfied. When you get caught up in the disappointment you feel from unmet expectations, you risk a life of misery, pushing the ones you care about away, or simply giving up on your dreams. In fact, you’re not truly living, you’re letting life pass you by. When you can keep your expectations in check and understand that things are not always easy or perfect, you are able to live a more happy life.
Here are a few things to remember that can help you let go of those “great” expectations…
- You are No Puppet-Master!
You’re not in control of everything! Understand that you cannot control how others perceive you, or how they do things. You cannot control the way someone else views the world, their reactions or actions, or the way things in life seem to work out. And simply put, you cannot control the universe! The best thing you can do is to surround yourself around people and things that bring you joy and try to learn from life as you go.
- Have an Open Mind!
As I stated earlier, you are not in control of everything. Things may happen in a way that you may not trust or understand. The best thing you can do is to roll with the punches and adjust when necessary. Don’t get so caught up in your own expectations that you let great opportunities pass you by. Open yourself up to new things and possibilities. Be open to differences of opinion, and different perspectives. Who knows, you may have a lot to gain from the experience.
- Acceptance is Key!
Accepting the things you can’t change is vital. Accept the unexpected will occur. Accept others for who they are. Trust and accept the process you are going through. Accept that again, you are not in control of everything. And accept that life is not easy. If, after all that, you still find yourself feeling down, it may be time to make some changes and remove yourself from certain situations. After all, acceptance does not mean settling.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!