I have been thinking a lot about expectations. What do expectations mean, how many I have in a day, and whether or not I’m setting them, or if someone else is. I think we can agree, we all have them; expectations, but some of us are better with how we navigate them.
I read an awesome article about expectations, and after found myself, observing myself ever so closely. When I would become disappointed, or irritable about what was occurring in my environment, I would think, ” did I create this, or did someone create it for me.” And what I found, I was creating A LOT of them!!!
Take for example the parking lot at Target. I am expecting that everyone will pull into their parking spot, quickly and efficiently get out of their car, not hitting my car mind you, and walk briskly into Target without stopping, with their door open, blocking the exit from my car while they check if they have their wallet. I also expect that when I tell my 6 year old, “Mommy’s going to sit for 30 minutes and do some work,” that she will not begin blowing up balloons, and then proceed to let the air release as slow and (loud) as possible while watching a cartoon. I expect this right! because my agenda looks very different, and quite frankly I didn’t think my agenda through in any way shape or form because I expect others to know it. I expect that the lady at Target knows I am in a hurry to pick my kids up from school so I need to get out, get in to Target, and get on my way. And I expect that my daughter knows I need quiet because I can’t concentrate when she is blowing and deflating balloons, so that I don’t have to do the task I’m trying to complete after my kids go to bed, because well, I want to go to bed. But why would they know this? better yet why should they know this? They are not privied to my thought process despite me thinking they are, or better yet should be.
I have found that if I stop and think about, “what is happening in the situation,” “why or how it is causing me this feeling,” it often (not always) often comes back to, “I’m setting high or unrealistic expectations of myself, others, or my time.” And it most always ends in a way that creates my body to feel stressed or my reaction to situations and others to be filled with irritation.
I know what you’re thinking, “Great Sara, so proud of you for figuring this out.” (eye roll) AND… I know the second thing you are thinking, “if we don’t have expectations, how are we suppose to have outcomes?” This might shock you, but I don’t believe the two necessarily go together. Obviously this can be argued as well, but hear me out a second.
My expectation of the lady next to my at Target and my daughter are the same, “I have something to accomplish and you are standing in the way of it.” But they are not standing in the way of my outcome. I still get into Target and still complete the task on the computer, whether or not I am doing it slowly or while listening the spit sounds my daughter is making while blowing up a balloon. My expectation however is set for me, not them, and in setting those expectations, I am setting others up to be the roadblock, instead of looking at the situation as a time of joy and rest.
- The lady taking one extra minute to check her purse= me having one more extra minute to breath.
- My daughter trying to blow up a balloon while I’m stressing out over a schedule change=a moment to stop, acknowledge her excitement when she actually blows the balloon up for the first time.
I realize setting a structure to an event or our days is important, but it is also important to set the expectations for yourself, not others. Your timeline is not someone else’s, and if you are expecting others to “just know,” what you need, “just know” that you are in a hurry, or “just know” that you are feeling a kind of way. Then you or (I) should ” Just know” we are going to be disappointed every time.
Expectations by definition is ” a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” ” a BELIEF that someone will or should achieve something. But the best part the synonym to expectation is “assumption,” “supposition,” “hope.”
Let’s focus on two words in that paragraph, “BELIEF and HOPE.” And if I am placing the expectation on myself, I believe and hope I will accomplish a task or goal, but I should work to Believe or hope for MYSELF because others are NOT expected to make my expectations come true.
Stop, Observe, Breath, and ACHIEVE.
Peace begins when expectation ends -Sri Chinmoy