As women who have lived for over five decades, we already know that central to most problems in the human condition is the idea that you create expectations for many situations in life. It’s an emotional sink hole, highly difficult to maintain.
An expectation is an assumption that something in the future will happen, or that you expect to happen. It presupposes a belief, an unsubstantiated one, that you will achieve a particular outcome in the future. Unfortunately, an expectation has no basis in reality. It cannot be verified.
In order to possess an expectation, you must have a firm belief that your life will change in the near future. You want a particular outcome to happen so that, in the end, you will avoid disappointment.
“Things will be better in 2019,” we think. Disappoints will not materialize. Only the positive will be manifested.
It is common for humans not to be aware or conscious of expectations because they settle deep in the unconscious. The unconscious nature of expectations can and will cause problems in your relationships, in the workplace, and definitely in retirement.
Truth Versus Illusion
The curse of expectations is that we frequently do not know the difference between reality, the truth, and illusion, the untruth. If we don’t live in the present, our expectations will be unrealistic.
We cling to a dream at all costs, and in the end, hopes vanish. Life is perceived to be unfair. Bitterness arises, disillusionment sets in, and dissatisfaction engulfs us.
How Do You Manage Expectations?
Everyone wants to know the future. If you could, you would go to the local fortune teller monthly to answer questions about the future.
Will I get married? Will I get the job? Will my mother get well? It feels safe to know the outcome of things to come, but in truth, no one can tell the future.
Personal/emotional safety can be achieved by not creating expectations. Better to stay fully focused in the present, with consciousness, as you stay on your journey.
The following are 5 effective ways to help you manage your expectations so 2019 is not another year of disappointments:
Set Manageable Intentions and Discover Realistic Goals
Sometimes real life isn’t pretty. We want it to be better, more productive, more fun, more exciting. Going through life at a hundred miles an hour creates mental chaos and makes you more prone to set unrealistic expectations. This, however, is not a smart way to achieve your goals.
A more meticulous approach to producing our lives involves planning and managing daily intentions – short term pursuits of action – instead of fabricating expectations. By making small intentions, and then processing realistic goals, you’ll be able to know what adds value to your life.
Manage the Expectations of Others
We live in a social/emotional world surrounded by people we work with, hang with, and live with. It is natural to expect others to behave in a certain way, have a particular emotional response or perform a job or task as required. And others feel the same way about you.
It’s almost impossible to manage the expectations of others. This is a tricky situation because your friends, loved ones, and co-workers feel you should behave in a certain way, too, according to their own needs. Establishing clear dialogue with others will re-direct expectations and clarify intent.
Stay Out of the Drama
Unrealized expectations create anger, disappointment, bitterness, and needless drama, even needless suffering. Emotions run high. Negativity kicks in. A feeling of confusion results. You can avoid the drama by assessing your realistic expectations based on your future goals.
Embrace achievable goals with forethought. By doing that, you gain the ability to change an emotionally charged situation because you have the ability to control the dynamics of your expectations and move them into a different direction.
Learn to Adapt
Learning to adapt is a highly prized human skill that allows you to move easily from one circumstance to another without conflict or drama. Adaptation means not projecting an outcome.
How do you hold back the expectation? Step back and detach from a situation that, in the future, might involve conflict and disappointment.
Detachment will allow you to have perspective and objectivity, with clarity to see the obvious benefits or drawbacks. You’ll be better prepared for what might transpire.
Mindful meditation or awareness is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental, and emotional experiences.
Practicing mindful meditation has scientific support as a means to reducing stress, improving attention, boosting the immune system, reducing emotional reactivity, and promoting a general sense of health and well-being.
Meditation can help you manage the desire to daydream, which can lead to fantasy expectations.
Expect the Unexpected
For decades, we’ve been socially conditioned to be achievers, stimulation-seekers, sky divers, and it’s difficult to unlearn these proclivities, all of which lead to unrealistic expectations. We have to learn a new way of thinking and expect the unexpected.
Instead of being a go-getter as the primary source of gratification and hitching your wagon to assumptions about the future, re-direct your mind to observing thoughts, emotions, and sensations without projecting an unrealized future.
And that takes patience, self-acceptance, and a willingness to manage your expectations. And be surprised.