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!

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With Love

 

 

 

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Unmet Expectations

The other day, scrolling through FaceBook-I came a cross an article that caught my eye. “One Man’s Take on the silent killer of failed-relationships-Unmet Expectations”. http://www.upworthy.com/one-mans-take-on-the-silent-killer-of-relationships-unmet-expectations?c=ufb2 Well, I had to go into that one.  It had some good points, although it was a fairly short article.   But, it got me thinking.

What are my “unmet expectations”?  At first, I looked at the question in terms of my relationship and my life with my SO.  Now, I have a pretty nice life-especially when I start thinking of so many who are suffering in this world.  But, having said that there are some things in which I feel are unfullfilled.  For example, we live in a condo.  That we rent.  We have been here 12 years.  The unit is really nice and has a beautiful view over a canyon.  We have great neighbors within the condo community and the neighborhood is really nice. I’d say upper middle class.  We rent for a couple of reasons-the main reason being that my SO has two houses in London that he rents out and doesn’t want to sell. He will not buy a property with a mortgage.  Where we live, while it needs upgrading after 12 years, is comfortable.  and, again, better than probably most people worldwide live in.  My SO is perfectly happy with this situation. I, on the other hand, want a house-or at least a duplex.  I want a little yard-to garden in, hang my hammock in, let my dog play in.  I want a garage for storage and an extra refrigerator.  I want to own or be buying a house instead of putting money in someone elses pocket.  And so, at times I get really resentful about not having all of that.  I have realized that it’s an unmet expectation of mine.  When I started thinking on it, I asked myself where did this expectation come from?  The honest answer is that it did not come from my SO.  He has never opined on having all of the above-or indicated that it’s really important to him. We never had a talk at the beginning of our relationship setting out like-minded goals and values in this area.  Yes, if we had the spare cash (who the fuck has that laying around?) we’d buy a place.  And again, I do know that he will not buy something unless he can pay for it all at once.  So, my expectation did not come from him. It’s not like he led me on.

I suppose this unmet expectation came from my parents.  From the cultural and societal way that I was raised in.  Although I do know that many people-an aunt and uncle of mine-have rented all of their lives.  Especially if they live in cities like New York or London.

So this then led to me questioning what other unmet expectaions do I have in my life?  It also leads to the question about the difference between unmet and unrealistic expectations.  The fine line between the visualization process necessary to create and obtain a goal and outright unrealistic fantasy..There’s the expectation that if you keep your head down, work hard and are honest, a person will make a decent living and have a decent retirement income.  There’s also the expectation that if you lead a healthy lifestyle you won’t get sick. These things are true for some and unfortunately not for others.  Of course then I also had to consider that Kharma is involved as well. (this is my own personal belief).

What I concluded-in my ongoing analysis of this-is that yes,  I can see why unmet expectations can result in the breakdown of a relationship.  At the same time, I also see that, at least in my case, it’s about projecting these expectations onto someone else-without them even knowing about it.  Someone who may have absolutely no idea that they are expected to fulfill these expectations. It’s about assumming that someone else has the same desires and values as I do. Back to the “illusion is for disillusion” thing again.

Of course then I had to look at this whole thing in terms of alcohol and my relationship with booze.  Whoa!! Talk about unmet expectations!  Not that I ever particularly or consiously thought about what I actually expected from booze or that bottle of wine other than to relieve the stress or take the edge off or enhance the situation (I’m feeling great!  Better have a martini to celebrate!) or whatever… Not much consciousness going on about what kind of expectations I had in that area of my life.  Except when things got to the point that I knew booze wasn’t fulfilling anything in my life except for creating a huge bottomless pit of guilt and self hatred.  Yes, at that point, I knew to what to expect after drinking a bottle of wine or a couple of cocktails. Did I say a couple of cocktails?  As if it would only be a couple! Even so,  knowing what to expect, I  kept on doing it-for years. Torturuing myself on a daily/nightly basis.  Until I stopped. Now, knowing what to expect is what keeps me from drinking.  When I do have a thought or a passing urge-which is seldom- I can take myself through the whole process-realistic visualizing-and know that I no longer want to get caught up in the whole downward spiral that I was once in.

My objective now, in terms of unmet expectations, is to try to be conscious and aware when something comes up.  To ask myself if I am in fact, being let down by another person-or if I’m being unrealistic in my expectations ofsomeone else.  Am I expecting something from someone who isn’t even aware that they are supposed to be in sync with me?  Expecting someone to be a mind reader in a sense as well as having the same expectations and desires as I have.

What are your unmet expectations?  Are they valid or unrealistic?

With love