Expectations are what we place on others or people and are this idea we have in our minds as to what we expect in return. When we are disappointed, then we can easily become hurt or upset. For example, someone fixes me a vegetarian hamburger and my expectation is that it will taste like a beef burger and when it does not, I am disappointed and do not want it anymore.
I was talking with a friend tonight as I was up with pain about expectations and how we can have expectations of those around us and when they do not perform to our expectations, we can become very disappointed, upset and disillusioned. And yet, what we do not realize is that it is our expectations and not theirs. We have to accept people where they are and not try to mold them into what we want. If we can not live with them how they are, then we need to move on.
I can remember when I was young wanting a man who was strong, protective and loved me as much as I loved him. And I was disappointed on some point every time. It took me years to realize that I had to accept people where they were and not try to make them be the illusion I had in my head.
The same thing is true about life. If we expect life to be this fairy tale, storybook video, we are going to be disappointed. No one has the perfect life and there will be ups and downs. But if we have this high and unrealistic expectation that there will never be problems, we will be disappointed every time.
I remember thinking why could so and so not love me the way I loved them. And that was an expectation I was placing on the other person. And I learned that even though they did not do all the things I thought were romantic or supportive, they did do other things that were loving and supportive. And I learned to see that I was trying to mold them to be like what I wanted but that they loved the only way they knew how. To them, love was providing for us and not all the romantic things that the movies lead us to believe is the perfect romance. And so I learned to change my expectation so that I found myself happier.
They say if you want to love someone like they want to be loved, watch them and see how they love others. For we love others the way we want to be loved. Some people are very sentimental and give cards and flowers and do all those things and other people are not but show their love in other ways. So, learning to watch and see how someone loves others helps us to show them the kind of love they want and helps us to see that they are showing us love, just not our expectation of love.
Everything in life, we tend to have expectations on…food, jobs, people, homes, children, friends…and sometimes we have to re-evaluate our expectations and make sure that they are possible and even realistic. It is good to have expectations but when things do not go as planned, we have to ask ourselves are we disappointed because of the expectation we placed on this or that.
My health is something I have expectations on and as I grew with being disabled and chronically ill, I realized that if I set myself up to this expectation that all of life will be nothing but “being chronically ill”, then I was setting myself up for failure and pain. Life is how we see it and I choose to see mine as happy and normal for me and so I do not find myself trapped by my expectations.
I may be chronically ill and disabled, but I do not wear those things like a cloak or badge of honor to flash at everyone and expect my whole life to be one of misery. That would be an expectation that could affect my whole outlook on life. It is all in how you view it. Chronic means ongoing it does not mean that every minute of every day is going to be one of misery. There is still joy in life and still talents I have that I can use to entertain myself and fulfill myself.
So, when you face disappointments, ask yourself was your expectation holding you down. You know..that vegetarian burger might actually taste pretty good if I quit expecting it to be a beef burger. Being chronically ill might not be as bad as expected if I change my expectations and start looking at the good still in my life. And above all, my happiness is up to me and I will be as happy as I expect I will.
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