Unmet Expectations

We all have them.  I certainly do.  Some are realistic-some not. To be honest, I don’t know where half of mine come from! My expectations that is. We are inundated with so much stuff from almost day one of our lives. As a child- and a girl child- it was “read” into me to expect a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet one day-offering me a glass slipper and a carriage ride into a fairytale life. I started to believe and expect that for every bad situation, the would be a Glenda- the good witch of the East- to rescue me and send me back to safety with 3 clicks of my heels. Again, fancy shoes were involved! This time the Ruby Slippers. You know as I’m writing this, it’s occurring to me that shoes have played a big part in fairy tales- all the way from Cinderella up to recently, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City! But I’m getting away from the subject here- or am I? Maybe having fancy shoes or not- does come into play here. It does for me! My feet are so messed up from working on them for so long that shoes are a big problem for me . To be honest, I’d rather shop for a swim suit- and that is not because I like how I look in one! So yes, I do have an unmet expectation in regards to shoes. I never imagined that they would be such a problem for me.

There’s both unmet and unrealistic expectations.  Sometimes they merge and become one in the same. We are so brainwashed into how we should be- eat a certain way, weigh a certain weight, workout this way or that. Meditate this way- do one kind of yoga over another. It’s trickled down into every aspect of our lives- my life. I find myself wondering just how I would be without so much outside influence. Wondering if at times I might not feel so let down if I could just know at my core what is the best way for me to be. So many ideas can sound so good when I read them in an article- but then in reality, they don’t really fit into my life. They don’t fit with who I am. And that’s where a lot of the problems start. At least in my case. Because what’s happened is that I’ve bought into some kind of “way of being” and instead of realizing that it’s not me and go on from there, I feel like something’s wrong with me. I’ve let myself down. I haven’t met up to my own expectations of myself. I’m just not good enough. Of course I realize this could be a never ending cycle. Because it’s possible and in my case probable, that I will always find some other expectations to have and not come to fruition.

And then of course, there’s the other people in our lives- what about when they don’t meet our expectations? How realistic are the expectations that we’ve placed on them? I know in my case one of my major, recurring issues is that I sometimes give people too much credit. I have had this come up mainly in work situations. Giving someone too much credit . Then they don’t meet my expectations. Then there’s problems.  I had this problem in my marriage- thinking my ex and I were on the same page and then being extremely disappointed to find out differently. I will say, that as far as my relationship with my SO now, I don’t have this problem. At least not in the sense that I’ve received mixed messages from him only to be disappointed. Nope, not from him. The only times I’m disappointed is when I’ve concocted something in my head and it’s just not so.

Of course there’s the saying that goes something like “if you don’t have any expectations, you won’t be disappointed “ but that is so hard to do in this world we live in- there’s so much on social media- so many magazine covers screaming out about a new way to be- so many strangers surrounding us that look so perfect-  Last night I got hooked into watching an infomercial on some skincare line. Those sales people are sooooo good! I decided to Google reviews for the product. While it didn’t have a horribly negative rating, it didn’t exactly have a positive one.  If I had bought it, I’d have one more unmet expectation.

I think another aspect of unmet expectations is that often that they then become a way for us to beat ourselves up.  I’ve had too many “day ones” or “I have no willpower” or whatever it is.  That way of thinking can eat us up. I’ve seen people who are so full of resentment and bitterness over their unmet expectations- whether of themselves or in regards to another person- that it just takes over their lives. Like a parent who can’t accept that their son is gay.  Or a Jewish father that won’t accept his non-Jewish son-in-law. The list can go on and on. It’s poison. It’s a waste of time and energy.

So here’s what I’m going to TRY to do. I’m going to try and be more conscious of my decisions- try to be clearer in my thinking. I’m going to try to remember to question what exactly my expectations are in a situation. When- because it will happen- I find myself having unmet expectations, I am going to try and react differently than I have in the past. I will question myself as to why I’m disappointed. I will try to let it go as soon as I can.  I will also remind myself that there’s a reason- in some cases, maybe I’m just not meant to do something- it’s not me.  Or maybe something better is coming in place of it.

Our lives are so short. We have so much going on in them- so many experiences and choices. In our quest to better ourselves, it seems like there’s a fine line between lovingly accepting who we are and building our lives around that truth and setting ourselves up for disappointment in the form of unmet expectations.  Life is fluid. It’s always shifting and changing. We should try to do that too!


With Love




A Piece of the Whole

When I first started catering on my own I lacked a bit of confidence.  If I made a mistake in either following a recipe or if said recipe didn’t come out exactly right, I’d throw it out and start over.  Oftentimes, at events when I was feeling stressed and scared, I defer to the people that worked for me. I will say that throughout the years, I had many extremely talented people come through my business, some with pretty impressive credentials.  However, it was my lack of confidence coupled with some insecurity that led me, many times to do this.  Of course one of the lessons that I learned-over and over and over-was that ultimately it all came down to me.  Anything that was lauded and everthing that didn’t go well, all rested on my shoulders.  I got really, really good at telling a client,“I am SO sorry!” Even at times when things weren’t my fault-say the client had made a wrong call on something.

As time when on-years and years-I gained more confidence, more self assurance. (I will say that anyone who’s reading and has known me over the years will laugh at the “more self assurance” part-because outwardly, I’m a pretty strong person. Oh! How we can cover!) Anyway, while the catering business is always stressful and there are so many dynamics in play with the possibility of a zillion things going wrong at the last minute, I did gain more confidence. The times where I woke up in the middle of the night in a state of cold, dark panic at an upcoming event lessened.  I got to a point where I was able to quit imagining what could go wrong-because inevitably the one thing I hadn’t thought of is what happened.  And at that point, it just had to be taken care of in the moment with no time to curl up in a ball and totally freak out.  Then, by the time the event was over and all was good, it seemed like no big deal or even funny.

I learned how to tell my staff that I was nervous-that I didn’t want to explain why-but that it had nothing to do with them.  Let’s just get on with it, do a good job and get the hell out of Dodge.  It’s amazing what a lesson that was for me!  Because nervous anxiety can be contagious. It can also trip someone elses buttons making them feel scared and insecure.  Which all had a trickle down effect.  I have seen this over and over throughout my years in the food business.  How the head chef or caterers goes into an absolute panic at the beginning-making everyone nervous and tense.  Then, when everyone is totally stressed out and bitching behind the head persons’ back, that head person is laughing and carrying on.  They’ve gotten a high off of their behavior. In the end, in my opinion, this serves no one-not the staff, not the client, not the guests and that energy goes into the food-everything.  So, I learned to control it and to communicate my anxiety in a way that no one felt like it was their fault.  Well, unless of course it was!

Another thing I noticed as time went on was that when I either messed up a recipe or something wasn’t quite right, I didn’t throw it out immediately. I tried to amend it first. I started telling myself that “this is just one piece of the whole.” One component of the big picture-This is not to say that I never messed up again or had to toss something out-but somehow, over time I was able to gain the insight and come to the realization that each step that went into a recipe, or event was but one part of it. That the important thing was what “the whole” looked like at the end.  Somehow I was able to step back and become more objective, more realistic in how I saw things.  I was able to acheive the same desired result that I always had, but in a different way.  In a clearer, less dramatic way.  Oh, I still had to apologize at times.  I still got nervous before a big event. But overall, something changed in the way I viewed things and dealt with them.

Getting sober is kind of like this.  At first, there’s a lack of confidence in the whole undertaking.  A huge amount of fear when thinking about the enormity of the whole thing.  I mean, your whole life is changing! And YOU are the one in charge!  That’s scary.   There’s times when many of us throw out the imperfect product of our efforts, making for numerous Day 1’s.  Starting over again and again.  Trying to get “the recipe” right. BUT! We start over.  We know and DESIRE to stop.  To come up with the perfect recipe for sobriety.  At first-and this can be the first few days or the first few weeks or even the first few months-things are really hard.  We feel like shit.  Maybe we’re snapping at people we don’t mean to-about things that we don’t mean to.

BUT! Given time and nurturing-Self nurturing-slowly things become more manageable.  Self confidence begins to grow.  Things begin to shift and the possibility of a wider, bigger life starts to become a reality.  Of course there’s still times of self doubt and discomfort-that’s life.  But that is a PIECE OF THE WHOLE.  What I am now realizing and seeing is that everything is just that.  A piece of the whole that is my life.  I can really and truely see and understand the trite saying, “Everything you’ve experienced up to now has brought you to this very place in your life.” It’s so true.  And while I certainly am not one to go back and relive all of the drug driven and drunken experiences I’ve had, I do realize that they have helped shape who I am.  I can’t negate them or deny them.  But I also don’t have to dwell on them or let me define who I am.  They are a piece of who I am.  While I can wish that I hadn’t spent years drinking and wish that I had started my sober life sooner, I can also own that part of me. That  past part of me.

My  whole isn’t done yet. The pie is still in the oven.I know that there will be things that come up in my life that I will wish I’d done differently.  There will be times when I will feel that I need to start over and other times when I can tweak something to make it fit with who I am. But, I will do that-one step and one piece at a time. You can do that too!

With Love