How often have you felt let down?
Let down by life, by family, friends, holiday destinations, public transport. How many times have things not lived up to your expectations?
Recently I was staying away from home with my family. Arriving at our destination, and seeing where we would be staying, I felt really disappointed. My disappointment showed itself in my being irritable, snappy and moody. I took my frustration and disappointment out on those closest to me, probably because they are the closest people to me.
Why on earth was it their fault!
They didn’t deserve my snappy and blunt responses.
Really reflecting and thinking about how I was feeling and my subsequent behaviour, I felt ashamed and most importantly I realised that the only problem was my expectations!
I expected it to be similar to the places we had stayed before. It wasn’t and as a result I behaved in a very spoilt and childish way.
What a realization, consequently I felt ashamed of my behaviour and the way I had spoken to my partner. Biting the proverbial bullet I apologised for my behaviour and attitude.
I explained that as a result of my expectations not being met, I had unfairly taken it out on him. As well as apologising to him, owning this was really important for me. Understanding that I had expectations dawned on me, and came as a surprise if I am honest. I understood perhaps for the first time how easy it is not to be aware that expectations are there in the first place.
What about other expectations?
This got me thinking about all the other expectations in our lives. We all have expectations for our relationships, careers, futures.
Pregnancy! Before I got pregnant I imagined what it would be like, what my child would look like, what they’re were going to be when they grew up!
Even if we think about the discomfort of pregnancy or childbirth we are still completely unprepared for how it actually going to be.
The shock, pain, discomfort, loss of self, sleepless nights, vomit, nappies, and sometimes sadly the heart-breaking loss of the baby.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A fireman, a nurse, a teacher? I always wanted to be a vet, and then an occupational therapist, funnily enough I didn’t actually do either.
We even have expectations about food, what`s it going to taste like, look like, smell like! Have you ever got ready and really looked forward to a night out, only to be disappointed by the service, food, or company?
How many times are we disappointed in life.
How often have events or relationships not lived up to expectations, subsequently leaving you feeling disappointed or unsatisfied?
Which then lead me to ask the question, “why do we put unrealistic expectations on things and sometimes ourselves”. If we always have unrealistic expectations how can we ever be happy.
I began to see how my own expectations in the past had perhaps triggered my core belief of not being good enough.
I wondered how many times I have not done, avoided too or been afraid of doing something because of my expectations. Perhaps expectations that I wont get that job, people wont like me, the relationship wont last. The list goes on and on.
Consequences of reviewing and changing our expectations.
Imagine how amazing it would be if you never felt disappointed! Even if I cant change my expectations I can change my response to them. I can recognise my feelings, and through exploration and reflection of my thoughts understand the trigger.
On my next journey away, I will be sure to ask myself what is it that I expect. Is it an adventure, more learning, or perhaps excitement, maybe peace or romance. If I do not get what I expect, I hope I will now understand that my expectations are my responsibility and I must not only own them but be responsible for my response to them.
As always I am still learning and growing to become the best person I can be, and maybe lead a happier more content life.