I talk a great deal about expectations. Working within a field filled with unknowns, we experience heightened expectations as well as low expectations. But, honestly, even adding the adjective before the noun already makes it an expectation — heightened or low expectations. So, I ask you, who determines if one’s expectations are high or low? Who determines if they are realistic?
Learn to Communicate Your Expectations
Expectations make or break relationships. Understanding the power of expectations in a relationship is an incredible skill. I tell myself all the time to pre-examine my expectations especially when it deals with family relationships. I find that if I examine how I am feeling and really communicate with myself, I can gauge my expectations for a certain family gathering. For example, does it measure up to what would typically occur at that gathering? It doesn’t mean that I am setting myself up for disappointment or surprises, but rather getting my head in the right place.
Can you find the word communicate in the paragraph above? The key to managing expectation is communication. It really isn’t our expectation that is off kilter — it is our communication. You have your expectations. I have my expectations. If we are lucky, we are on the same page or close to it. But our expectations can be so far off that it is actually quite funny – to the observer – probably not to us.
Have you really talked with someone about their expectations? I was already an adult, parenting several children in fact, when a supervisor of mine challenged me to ask my mother what her expectations were as a grandmother. I accepted the dare and had a very heartfelt, albeit emotional conversation with my mom. I learned what she thought life would be like as a grandmother and how many grandchildren she “expected” to have and hold the presses, her daughter completely trashed that vision when the number of grandchildren already reached, well let’s just say 5+. It wasn’t because my mom wasn’t an awesome grandmother, and still is. She knew what it was like to raise her four children and to dream about being a grandparent. But she wasn’t familiar with much larger families or families that grew through adoption, or about parenting children with disabilities – by choice. It wasn’t that she didn’t approve. It just didn’t fit what she later realized was her expectations. Many parents “expect” their child/ren to go to college, or to marry someone of the opposite gender, or to be an academic overachiever, or a sports fan… whatever it is, it is impossible to not have expectations.
Understanding the Difference Between an Expectation, Dream, or Wish
It is not realistic to tell yourself not to have any expectations, as expectations are important, but it is healthy to process your expectations, communicate them, and understand the expectations of others.
It is also important to understand the difference between what an expectation, dream, hope, or wish is.
An expectation is a belief that something will happen now or in the future.
A dream is to contemplate the possibility of doing something or that something might happen.
A wish or hope is to feel or express a desire for something to happen.
Expectations, dreams and wishes are an important part of our daily lives and assist us in making sure we succeed in the simplest and hardest journeys.
Being Expectant Rather Than Having Expectations
I am an advocate for living in the here and now and making our and others’ dreams come true. I am a believer in achieving all your hopes and dreams and creating a set of guidelines or goals to live by and strive for.
But I would much rather be expectant – having an excited feeling that something is about to happen — rather than believing something should be a certain way. I would rather embrace life and live every day with positivity.
So, I ask you again, who determines if one’s expectations are high or low, and who determines if they are realistic? We are the author of our own expectations and the answer to these questions. So I leave you with this — being positive isn’t the same as expecting a positive experience, but rather accepting all experiences and making them positive.
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This post was syndicated with expressed permission.