If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” – Sylvia Plath
Some days seem to have themes, or a word that keeps being repeated. It is a strange phenomenon. You know it is similar to a pair of shoes that you purchase. They are beautiful and you feel great in them. You head out to dinner and a movie and there are three other people wearing the same “unique”shoes. You never noticed the type of shoes before buying them but now they appear everywhere. This also happens when you buy a car. Well, there are some days that a word seems to be coming at you from everywhere. I find those days to be very educational. I am in need of learning something and I must pay close attention.
Last night I was visiting with friends. The word “expectation” came up in conversation. After listening to my friend’s recent disappointments and what were to be expectations of others I asked, “What are expectations?” To this my best friend quickly replied, “Disappointments!”
I slept very uneasy last night. I then saw an email from another friend which had “expectations” written all over it. I have to ask again, “What are expectations?” I know the definition, but I just want to know why we persist in adding expectations to our moral foundation? Why do we place the stress of these assumptions upon others and ourselves?
The word means: “a strong belief that something will happen in the future, and a belief that someone will or should achieve something.” The “should” in that definition is what truly empathizes this word. The “should” seems to be the magic wand to the desire we place on others. We are disappointed when someone doesn’t step up to what they “should” do for us. We are crushed when our expectations of how we perceive them gets tarnished. To expect anything is to wait for the future to deliver. Our parents had expectations for us. We have them for our children. We hold expectations on our spouses, mates and lovers. We even have expectations for our pets. What are we doing to each other stressing on future outcomes?
I remember when I was studying psychology that we touched upon behavioral expectations. These types of expectations are role sets and social influences that determine how each person judges others in the world. This is learned early on in our childhood. Children learn from observing those near them. They interact with others who see the world in similar ways. They also learn from their siblings and how they are seen in the family. The impact of socio-economics, culture, gender and race all play a huge role on how children develop and interact with each other. Expectations are then built on. We gather the structure of what is expected and place them on all types of relationships. Expectations are imprinted and then we immediately begin the implementation from others.
Of course we are going to be disappointed! How can anyone live up to the expectancy of another? Expectations are little hunches of what “should be.” They are no different than fortune telling the future. You are assuming, believing and judging what can happen in the future. That’s no way of living a life based on the assumptions of others. Yes, it hurts when friends let you down. It is horrible when a spouse doesn’t step up to the plate in moments needed. But to them they are not consciously being aware of what “should” happen because they have a whole different set of expectations as well. The whole expectation theory seems to lead to, as my best friend said, “Disappointments!” It is in that moment of disappointment that guilt, shame, anger, judgments, and hurt destroy the trust in another because of
a belief system that we created.
Rather than place expectations on others, delete the belief system. You can’t be disappointed if you don’t expect. It’s that simple! I vote to delete expectations from our beliefs. If you want to make God laugh, make a plan…and definitely add a dash of expectation and see how He rolls over and chuckles.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your
expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
– Bruce Lee
About the Author: Millie A. Mestril
After raising six children, working in the corporate world, and being part of a relationship for eighteen years, I found that happiness was not consistent in my world. I left the business world, ended a relationship that was deteriorating and headed to the mountains. My best friend and I bought a small motel in the middle of gorgeous country and began the greatest journey. What started as a visit to Asheville in May of 2010 became a permanent home for us. Now with only one teenager at home, I am able to be part of a wonderful world of meeting people from all walks of life. We’ve transformed an old gem of a place into a sweet and quaint oasis for others to find peace. To those looking into our lives it seems we saved Peaceful Quest Retreats, but the reality is that this place saved us. Every day brings joy, inspiration and a zest for life I never knew existed. The lessons have not always been easy but the ride has been scenic and delightful. I can’t imagine ever returning to a life that was not authentic to my spirit. ~ Millie A. Mestril