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!