In case you were wondering, this post isn’t a review of one of Charles Dickens’ most famous novels. It’s actually about the Great Expectations we put on ourselves and others.
Expectations are our own subjective view about how we or someone else should behave. They are incredibly biased and often differ between two people. Particularly, if for example, you are expecting someone to take the garbage out or to make the bed despite having never agreed on either of these activities.
What’s worse is that we tend to put particularly high expectations on those closest to us. And as a result, we often become upset when they behave in a way that is not in line with what we expect. We feel that these people are not fulfilling the role we have scripted for them and this causes us disappointment and sometimes pain. Yet this is only because our expectations are misaligned and not necessarily because that person has done something bad. We then tend to spend time focusing on the differences in our expectations rather than appreciating any good that the person may do or have done in past.
Yet if we don’t want to be hurt by others, we have to let go any expectations of them. The same can be said if we want to forgive someone too.
I struggled with this concept to begin, but after hearing it continuously repeated by Buddhist Monks over the years, I thought I should give it a go.
These days, I try be less hard on my self and quash any thoughts that someone should behave in a certain way – the way I am expecting them to. I am learning that any change I am looking to achieve can only be driven by me and can’t be dependent on someone else doing something. I am also realising that you can never expect or ask someone to alter themselves as a way of improving your situation or to make you happy. And I have given up asking people to stop doing certain things even if it is hurting them and those around them, which has probably been the hardest lesson of all.
Tony Robbins claimed that “if you turn your expectations into appreciation, your whole life will change”.
It has been a challenge at times but I have seen the benefits of focusing on what people do right rather than wrong (in my opinion).
I urge you to give it a go. As it is Great when we have no Expectations.