Are your expectations making you unhappy? Have you ever had high expectations for how something is going to turn out, maybe it’s a project you've been working on for months or something as simple as a night out with friends only to be let down by the end result?
Expectations have the power to make us feel joyful or unhappy depending on which side of our expectations the end result turns up. In my experience having high expectations usually leads to being disappointed. High expectations should not be confused with having a high standard for yourself.
When we expect things to be a certain way and then find out they’re not, we get upset or disappointed. Don’t expect people to act a certain way even if they have in the past, don't expect things will always go the way you want because they wont. You don't have to like everything that happens that is unexpected, but by not setting ourselves up to be disappointed we can eliminate a lot of internal strife because of our own expectations.
Have you ever gone out to meet up with friends and nothing was planned except for where you were meeting them, and it turns into an epic memorable night? How about the opposite of that, lets say New Years Eve where there’s such a build up of expectation that it’s going to be the greatest party night of the year and all of your friends have to be there and your going to have the best new years kiss and then it turns out that only half of your friends show up to the party and you forget to watch the clock and are in the bathroom when the countdown happens. We feel disappointed because the night didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to, but if you didn’t have any expectations the night was actually a great success you still got to spend time with friends you hadn't seen in a while and even though you missed the countdown you still have an amazing partner that you were able to kiss at 12:02. We can make our lives difficult and become ungrateful for what we have, because of expectations. The simplest way to remedy this is to get rid of any expectations.
Have standards, set goals for yourself, but remove the expectations. If you had a goal of losing 10lbs in one month and at the end of that month you weighed in 9.5lbs lighter it could be easy to be disappointed because you missed your goal. Or you could be thrilled that you came that close to your goal and continue on your path and be down the 10lbs, which would likely happen days later. We set goals based on what we think we should be able to achieve and then are disappointed even when we come close. We discredit ourselves instead of celebrating the fact that we’re moving in the right direction. I’ve tried to be more conscious of this in my own life, I do set goals but I am more focused on the direction that I'm heading instead of the numbers. If I'm growing and challenging myself and making progress I should be happy about that, not disappointed because I missed the marker, the marker that I chose for myself. Even more detrimental is comparing yourself to someone else. This goes for any area of life, we compare our journey to another and feel ashamed that we aren't doing what they have done or that it’s taking longer to get the same result. We are all individuals and the only person we should be comparing ourselves to is who we were yesterday.
I encourage you to drop your expectations and look at life objectively. We can be our own worst enemies and being disappointed by expectations that we’ve set for ourselves is not helping you live better. We can expect things from people, from life, from ourselves, or we can show up, get better and enjoy things as they are.