Expectations are equal to my serenity
Friday, September 11, 2015 - Author: Chris B.
In order to maintain our serenity, it’s important that we check our expectations on a regular basis. When we’re struck by feelings of sadness, anger, frustration or fear, we must look back on the situation and look at how we mentally prepared ourselves for it. Were our expectations too high or were they within reason? I’ve found that when I’m able to do this, I’m able to realistically set my expectations beforehand so I don’t have to deal with the aftermath afterward.
Now, expectations need to be looked at in all aspects of our lives. When people usually think about expectations, it usually involves some sort of pay-off at the end. For example, our expectations of buying a lottery ticket may be to win a lot of money, or we expect an investment to return money. We also need to look at our expectations of people in order to maintain healthy relationships as well as mental stability.
Our expectations are equal to our serenity, and it may be difficult to find the balance at first. Of course, we all hope for positive outcomes in every situation or relationship, and positive thinking is very beneficial, but it also needs to be kept in check. Something else we’ve talked about in other articles are acceptance and optimism, which are key when our expectations for different situations aren’t met. We’ll begin to look at those situations with a new perspective.
Our Expectations of Family
Many of us don’t realize it, but a lot of our resentments towards other people are due to our expectations of them. I never really knew this until I went through a personal inventory of my resentments and found that a lot of them were due to my expectations of people. Our minds tell us that different people in our lives should be a certain way. Whether it’s our parents, spouse, children, co-workers, friends or complete strangers, we expect certain things.
We’ve all had our own unique upbringing, so we have different ideas of how a family should be. We expect a mother to be nurturing, loving and caring. Our fathers should be great role models and hard workers. Our family should love one another, and we should have the perfect relationships like the ones we remember from television shows like The Brady Bunch. This sounds great, but how realistic is it?
It’s important to realize that there is no such thing as a perfect family because we’re all human beings, so we’re all subject to making mistakes or acting a certain way based on self-will. When I expect my mom to be a certain way, my dad to be a certain way and other family members to by my idea of what they should be, I’m putting a lot of my expectations on them. I’m no longer in acceptance of who they are as people.
Our Expectations in Intimate Relationships
I’ve found that most of our relationship issues with a significant others come with from our expectations of a person. When I’m going into a relationship, I have expectations of the other person, and sometimes I have to think about what’s fair and what’s not. Do I expect the person to talk to me all day through text? Should they always want to do what I want to do? Should they cook me dinner and surprise me with romantic gestures? How fair are the expectations that I’m putting on the other person?
In order to come back to reality and keep some serenity, I need to look at my part in these situations when conflict arises. I have to think about whether or not I’d want the same expectations for myself. Now, this isn’t to say that we should stay in unhealthy relationships at all, but we need to be sure that our expectations of the other person are realistic if we want the relationship to stay healthy.
Couples counseling and turning to your support group are perfect for checking your expectations as well. When you’re confused about whether or not your expectations are too much, an outside perspective is often helpful because maybe there’s something that you’re not seeing. If your expectations are reasonable from the perspective of another person, you may need to re-evaluate your relationship and honestly ask yourself if things will eventually change.
Expectations of Situations
There are a lot of different philosophies and self-help guides out there that talk about how your positive attitude will get you the results that you’re looking for. I do believe that a positive attitude is extremely important, but for my own serenity I can’t put my faith in a positive attitude alone. If I keep telling myself that my positive attitude will get me certain results, then I’m setting myself up for failure. Eventually, I’ll stop having a positive attitude because I don’t see the point in doing so.
No matter what situation we’re getting into, we must manage our expectations. A lot of this can be managed by keeping in mind our present moment awareness, which is about doing what we can at any given time to stay in the moment. Are we going into a job interview expecting to get it because of our positive attitude, or are we accepting the reality that we may not get it so we keep our options open? Are we expecting that the process of buying a home will be seamless because we really want that home, or are we prepared for the potential road blocks that are virtually inevitable during the home buying process?
We can’t have a negative state of thinking, but we must always be prepared for any outcome so we’re mentally prepared. We have to be flexible, so we can take the next necessary step when life doesn’t happen the way that we think it should. When things don’t work out, we can take a look at our expectations of what our wants and needs are, and learn how to move forward. Eventually, we’ll be able to find that balance in our thinking where we’re able to have reasonable expectations and the strength, courage and willingness to adapt when life happens so we may maintain our serenity.