"Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you're going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations, but my job is to hurry them along whether they like it or not." - The Whether Man, The Phantom Tollbooth
Have you ever felt frustrated because you were expecting something and it didn't come through? A job offer, a payment to your account, that call from a friend when you were feeling down - the list goes on.
How did you feel when that offer, payment, or call never came? Probably frustrated and hurt, maybe even angry or depressed. Expectation can give hope, but an unrealized expectation can make us feel like our legs are buckling underneath us.
Personally, this is something I have been working on - primarily because my expectations sometimes don't match reality. In my internet travels I came upon an interesting quote from Sri Chinmoy, "Peace begins when expectation ends."
This interesting, but on target, viewpoint can help you turn a self care corner mentally if you're struggling to find peace with expectations that aren't matching reality. Let's see how.
Expectation, in short, is a belief about what will happen in the future. This belief can help us to predict what will happen and guides our actions in accord with what we expect. Here's a basic example: I believe it will be warm tomorrow, so I'm going to lay out a pair of shorts to wear.
Life expectations are a little bit more involved than the weather. Example: You've been working at your job for five years and you're coming up for a review that might lead to a promotion and a raise. What are you expecting? Maybe a guaranteed promotion and that sweet pay increase because of your longevity at the job.
This expectation gives you hope and makes you feel good; but is your expectation based in reality? Maybe your performance reviews haven't been stellar and you were late about 3 times last month. The point being - you may not get what you were expecting and that can cause disappointment and resentment.
Looking at this example and thinking about other situations that arise in your life, how can you reframe your expectations to give you positive feelings about the future without robbing you of joy when what you expect doesn't occur?
On the Road to Reasonable Expectation
In my mind, expectation and peace have a converse relationship. The more expectation I have, the less peace I have; conversely, the less expectation I have, the more peace I have. Another way to view it is - the shorter my ladder of expectation is, the faster I'll reach peace.
Now am I saying that you should set all of your expectations ridiculously low, so that you have no ambition or are accepting the lowest quality of things? No, that's not what I'm getting at. But if you are regularly upset about things not going the way you expected, then maybe you're expecting a little too much from yourself or others. You need an adjustment for self care and for your mental well-being.
What can that look like? Here are a few examples ...
Grow in Peace and Acceptance
Take a look at your recent expectations and what the reality was - here's a worksheet to help you out. Do you need to make an adjustment to your thinking?
Having mental peace is an important part of self care. That mental peace comes from acceptance of what is in your sphere of control and what isn't. Many times what we expect is out of our sphere of control. Be intentional and reasonable with your expectations and your peace will grow in direct proportion.
How do you feel about Peace Vs. Expectations? Let us know - Leave a Comment below!
Check out our new Self Care Journal - "No. A Personal Cancel Culture Journal."
Keywords: expectations, expectation vs reality, expectation definition, expectation management, how to self care, self care ideas