In today’s lesson, we focus on how expectations get us into trouble and how to get rid of them. My Dad used to say to me “get rid of your expectations, they will only cause you pain.” It took me a while to understand what he meant. If you want to have great satisfaction in your life, then releasing your expectations is a quick way to go about it.So first, let’s define what we mean by an expectation and then we will address how you get rid of them.
Many of us think that standards and expectations are interchangeable. We make a clear distinction between what is an expectation and a standard. An expectation is what you want others to do, how you want them to behave and most of the time, we don’t share what we want from others. A standard is what you want for yourself, how you want to live, behave, show up in your life. For example, a standard would be to always write a handwritten thank you note after receiving a gift. An expectation would be that others must write you a thank you note after you give them a gift. See the difference.
When we have expectations of others, we often are disappointed, resentful and in some cases angry because others may not behave the way we want them to. Having expectations is out of our control because we can’t control what others do or don’t do as much as many of us try. Therein lies the problem. The quicker we are willing to release these expectations, the sooner we will be less stressed and more satisfied. Expectations can get us into trouble as they are usually assumptions we make about what others will do for us and typically without telling them what we want. So, the first step is getting honest with ourselves about our expectations of others.
Activity: List your top 5 expectations and who you have the expectation of and decide how this is impacting your relationship. Next, list 5 standards of how you want to live your life. Reminder, your standards are what you have in your control and expectations are out of your control.