Get rid of your ExpectationsFebruary 14, 2010
Often when we’re going about our daily lives we might experience some disappointment, or a brief loss of hope, or a state of unsatisfaction. And the reasons are many; sometimes we might not even realize we feel this way because the feelings are so brief.
Its not as dramatic as it sounds, these feelings are a part of life. And they can often spur us on to make change in our lives so we don’t experience the disappointments as often.
What causes these feelings to arise, even if they are brief?
We can subconsciously expect a particular outcome during many different scenarios. When we take on a new task or job, we expect a certain outcome. When we go on a date we expect he or she to behave in a civil manner. When we set certain rules for our children we expect them to comply without question. When we make friends with someone (even in a romantic sense) we expect them to act a certain way and treat us with dignity and respect.
And so, if there’s a glitch in the process of the job we’re doing, or our date turns out to be a loud and obnoxious show off, or one of the kids decides the rules are unfair or we learn the new friend we make is untrustworthy, what do we do?
Chances are you might feel frustrated because the job isn’t going smoothly, you might feel disappointed at choosing the wrong date, you may feel challenged that the kids question your authority and you might feel hopeless because you trusted someone who was dishonest.
And all this can lead to a loss of confidence, maybe not a large scale but over time, these disappointments can leave your self esteem shaky and unstable.
How do we stabilize our self esteem?
By releasing our expectations.
Which doesn’t mean we have to lower our expectations, it means we can set standards or behavior that we will accept and decide what action we can take if those standards of behavior aren’t honored. If we do this then there is no need for expectation and we aren’t left open to disappointing emotions when our expectations are not met.
Expecting specific outcomes basically means we anticipate that things will go a certain way and when they don’t, we are left feeling disappointed, and sometimes even resentful.
So rather than feed our habit of anticipating outcomes that aren’t even in our control, its less stressful and easier to work out standards for ourselves, and the action we will take if those standards aren’t met, or need assessment or adjustment.
For instance, going back to the point about the job in the examples I used above, if we prepare a task plan before we begin the job, and write down some troubleshooting processes then we will have an action plan if anything goes wrong. Being prepared will give us a back plan if we need it and it will help us feel more in control if hitches do occur.
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