If I were to take a poll of a group of people and pose the question how many of you have had a conversation with your friends and family and told them what your expectations are of them? And, along with that they understood and stated they could meet your expectations. I would imagine on average no one would be able to confirm such an occasion has every taken place. So, if we operate with that thought it helps to create the journey we are about take in this particular post.
Typically we have framed our disappointments based on people and not on our expectations. The truth is “it is not people who disappoint us but our expectations.” This is what it looks like, we create a story in our mind of what we want people to do or be, but we have never addressed these expectations. When the expectations are not met we say “I’m so disappointed in him/her” when in fact the story was based on our own expectations. I believe it is difficult to own that we are disappointed based on our own expectations that we have set verses expectations that we were told one could meet. Regardless of our rationale as to why we thought the expectations should have been met, we have created unnecessary hurt and frustration because there was never a conversation in play. Here’s an illustration that I believe validates my point: A couple has been dating for a year and as the one year anniversary approaches the boyfriend says to the girlfriend, “we’ve been together a year and I want to do something special, so let’s plan to go out to dinner to celebrate.” Afterwards, the girlfriend calls up her friends and says “I believe this is the big one, he’s going to ask me to marry him, and after all, it has been a year.” To better clarify this let’s take into consideration that in the course of the year never has there been a conversation about becoming engaged. What we have here is wishful thinking and a story the girlfriend has created in our own mind based on her own expectations of what she wants to happen. The big night comes and there is no proposal and the girlfriend leaves at the end of the evening hurt and disappointed. The feelings that are being experienced are not the result of the boyfriend, but the girlfriend’s perception says “he has hurt and disappointed me because he did not propose.” The question becomes where did this idea come from if this was never a conversation or confirmation from the boyfriend? I hear you, you are absolutely right the idea falls back on the girlfriend. These are major mistakes one can make and be unwilling to understand the disappointment must be owned on their end not on the end of the other party. While this may not be your story, we all have at least one where we created a story in our own mind only to be disappointed when it played out differently.
It is totally acceptable to have expectations but make sure the expectations have been confirmed and they are not a story you have created in your own mind. The truth of the matter is sometimes our expectations are beyond what a person can give and they have not arrive to that point yet. Perhaps they may never arrive at that point. It is extremely beneficial to address people about your expectations for the purpose of avoiding certain disappointments. This will at times take courage to speak to people about what you expect because they may be very forward and tell you they cannot meet your expectations, but you have to be prepared to accept their truth regardless of what you feel or believe.