The Danger of Expectation (PART 3)

We are all doing the best we can with what we have. So how about we elegantly step down from our high-horse and give each other a freaking break?

You know how damaging unrealistic expectations can be on yourself, so don’t pile more of them onto the people around you! There they are, minding their own business, doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. They’re rather busy trying to dig themselves out of their own hole of unrealistic self-expectations, yet there you are, shovelling the expectations back in with every pile they shovel out. It sounds like exhausting work. For them, and for you.

By now, you get it, right? Unrealistic expectations = BAD! Awareness = GOOD! Doing something about them = EVEN BETTER! We’ve gone over this in Part 1 and Part 2 (check those out now if you haven’t already).

Unrealistic self-expectations are particularly detrimental when it comes to our wellbeing. But, what about the expectations we place upon others? How does that affect us, them, and our relationship?

We can pile expectations on others in a few different ways. Here are the ones we’re going over today:

  • Expecting others to do something

  • Expecting others to agree with you

  • Expecting others to respond positively to you

  • Expecting others to change

When we let ourselves down due to high, unrealistic expectations – that’s one thing. But when someone else ‘lets us down’ due to our high, unrealistic expectations we’ve placed on them – that’s something entirely different. That’s relationship-strain territory, and it’s not their fault. It’s yours.

As human beings, we are so quick to get our knickers in a twist when they didn’t do what you wanted them to do. They didn’t show up as you expected them to. They don’t have the right attitude. Well, they have no idea what you want, and when you expect them to be mind-readers, then you are going to have a bad time. When you expect them to be something they’re not, you are going to be disappointed. When you expect them to agree with everything you do, then you are going to be offended when they don’t.

There’s one thing we all need to know: when we’re in a loving relationship with someone, they don’t do things to purposely hurt us. They don’t leave the dishes out of spite. They don’t act like a grump around you because they think you deserve it. They don’t decide not to bring ice cream home because they’re teaching you a lesson. They aren’t out to disappoint you at every turn. But what they are doing, is their absolute best with what they have. We just need to understand that.

Expecting others to do something

When we expect others to do something, it’s not always going to happen the way we visualised it in our heads. It might not even happen at all. Maybe you want your friend to bring you a take-away coffee on her way over. Maybe you expect a certain person to go above and beyond for your birthday. Maybe you simply want a home-cooked meal at the family dinner. It’s easy to assume these things will just happen, but it’s not just unrealistic – it’s unfair.

Expectation: Your partner will do the dishes tonight without prompting.

Reality: Dishes don’t get done.

Outcome: You’re disappointed and angry.

Reason: Your partner isn’t a mind-reader! Maybe he or she has something else on their mind, and taking the initiative to do the dishes tonight simply wasn’t their main focus.

Meet it with: Communication, curiosity, and compassion.

  • Communicate: Let them know very clearly before-hand that you’d love to see them help with the dishes tonight. Alternatively, tell them that you were hoping they’d do the dishes tonight, but you realise they aren’t a mind-reader and you won’t hold a grudge.

  • Be curious: What’s on their mind? Is something bothering them? What happened throughout the day?

  • Be compassionate: You’ve found out what’s on their mind, now empathise with them and understand what place they’re coming from today. Them not doing the dishes isn’t a personal attack on you.

Expecting others to agree with you

People are all so wonderfully unique. We all have different likes, dislikes, passions, ideas, and beliefs (to name a few). Expecting someone to agree with something you have to say, to be passionate about the things you’re passionate about, or to want to do the things you want to do, is not just unrealistic – it’s unfair.

Expectation: Your colleague will agree with your thoughts on the new boss at work.

Reality: Your colleague completely disagrees with your comments.

Outcome: You’re disappointed, rejected, and offended.

Reason: Your colleague may have had a completely different interaction with the new boss than you did. They may have a different set of ideas as to what makes a person, ‘their kind of person.’ Their ideas and beliefs may simply differ from yours.

Meet it with: Communication, curiosity, and compassion.

  • Communication: You could approach this in a light-hearted way and laugh, ‘I was actually expecting you to agree with me. You must have had a different interaction with him than I did!’

  • Curiosity: Ask them what kind of interaction they had with him. Ask them why they find certain characteristics interesting. Their life-experiences have obviously lead them to different beliefs to you. Maybe you can give him a chance.

  • Compassion: Understand where they’re coming from, see their point of view, and put yourself in their shoes. It’s okay to have totally different beliefs to a friend. It’s what makes the world so interesting; we should commend them for staying true to themselves! Their disagreement is not a personal attack on you.

Expecting others to respond positively to you

We have good days, and we have bad days. We get along with some people, and we don’t get along with others. That’s life! Expecting others to like you, to always treat you well, or to show up as their best selves every time you’re together; it’s not just unrealistic – it’s unfair.

Expectation: Your child meets you after a long school day with a big hug and a smile on their face.

Reality: Oscar The Grouch mopes his way to the car and doesn’t hug you back.

Outcome: You’re disappointed, rejected, and feeling a little unloved.

Reason: Your child might have had a seriously rough day at school that day. They could’ve had a fight with their friend, got a D on a test, or got into trouble.

Meet it with: Communication, curiosity, and compassion.

  • Communication: You could say something along the lines of, ‘Oh, I was hoping for a big cuddle, but I can see you’re upset. Do you want to talk about it?’

  • Curiosity: Ask them how their day was. Ask them how they’re feeling now.

  • Compassion: Give them love and understanding. We all have bad days from time to time. It’s important to show your child that it’s okay to be sad, and understand that their mood isn’t a personal attack on you.

Expecting others to change

We all know someone who we just wish they’d do this differently or stop doing that. Even if it’s for their greater good, we can’t expect anyone to change who they are unless they decide to on their own terms. We have to step back and let people be themselves. To expect anything more from them is not just unrealistic – it’s unfair.

Expectation: Your friend stops drinking after a minor health scare.

Reality: Your friend does not change their habits.

Outcome: You’re frustrated, angry, and disappointed.

Reason: Your friend may not understand the implications of continuing this habit. They may not be as educated on the topic as you are. They might brush it off as a minor issue. They may be using alcohol to deal with a much more serious problem in their lives. (Note: these obviously aren’t good excuses to continue an unhealthy habit, but they’re doing the best they can with what they have right now).

Meet it with: Communication, curiosity, and compassion.

  • Communication: Talk to your friend about their drinking. Talking about the elephant in the room might be a very good thing. Let them know that you’re there and only want the best for them.

  • Curiosity: Ask them what they know about the effects of alcohol on their health. See how their life is going or if anything’s bothering them.

  • Compassion: Try to see where they’re coming from. Stand for a moment in their shoes and understand their point of view. This kind of compassion could open the doors to a safe and honest conversation that might greatly help your friend. Just remember, if you’re upset and frustrated that this person you love is damaging their health despite your suggestions, it’s not a personal attack on you.

We’ve learnt that what happens when others don’t meet the expectations we place on them - it becomes a personal attack. But, not everything is about us, and not everything needs a fight or flight response. Sometimes, all it takes is a little communication, curiosity, and compassion.

Once we can get past that, we can begin to release the expectations we place on others. We ease the pressure we’ve placed upon them, open up the communication line, and garner a deeper understanding of the other person in the relationship. Our connection strengthens.

When we release the expectations we place on others, we don’t have to feel so much (self-inflicted) hurt anymore, and the other person doesn’t have to feel like they need to walk on egg-shells around you.

Remove expectations. Go easy on yourself, go easy on others, and know that we are always doing the best we can with what we have.

Love & Happiness

P.S Do you know someone who could really benefit from reading this? To give them the motivation and push they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of the young people around them? Share this post with them. Even if they don't embrace it straight away, you've done your part. Thank you.

P.P.S Check out some more content to really take your life and your family members lives to the next level!

  • YouTube Weekly Tutorials: Click here

  • The Happiness Equation & How It Changed Everything (Blog): Click here

  • Selfless? Or Lacking Self-Worth? (Blog): Click here

  • Are Your Dreams Setting You Up For Failure? By Andrew Baggio (Blog): Click here

  • 5 Steps To Fantastic Leadership (Blog): Click here

The next step:

Commit to being the change, and get started on my IHH 10 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Sign up now to receive your FREE copy. I made it especially for you :) (and not once did I let Adobe InDesign beat me! Ok, maybe once…)

From here, get involved in my whole-family approach and register your interest for the IHH Weekly Workshops ONLINE (for adults) and the in-person, Interactive IHH Weekly Workshops (for kids). Both programs launching early 2017! Note: Registering your interest does NOT lock you in to anything – it simply lets me know that people want to make a change, and gives me an idea of when and how I need to make it happen.

#wellness #youth #mentalhealth #wellbeing #happiness #gratitude #positiveeducation #positivity #love #health #kids #mum #dad #children #child #mentalillness #depression #anxiety #childdepression #adolescent #meditation #visualization #visualisation #lifecoach #bestlife #knowyourself #discover #loveyourself #create

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