“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations.” – Elliott Larson
Expectations – Some are Good…
When the winter ends and we expect the spring (and it finally comes), it’s good. When we work hard and reap the reward of that work, it’s good. When we put our trust in someone and that trust is respected, it’s good. But most of us know that expectations… especially the ones that we don’t realize are there… can lead to disappointment at best, disaster at worst.
Some are Bad…
These are the ones where our lack of self-awareness makes us vulnerable to someone else’s greed or lack of integrity. The ones where we forget to ‘trust but verify,’ when we expect something important from someone else. Where denial about the other person’s behavior puts us in jeopardy. This is tough because who wants to go around checking up on whether people are going to do what they say? It’s much easier to just go along and hope they look out for us.
If we think we can stumble through life not paying attention to and/or judging other people’s behavior towards us… then let’s just stop for a moment. Many people have ‘reasons’ why they can’t pay attention to others. Some people have reasons to repeatedly behave badly. Here are some of their ‘reasons’:
- I have a short attention span
- I am not ‘tuned-in’ to others
- I see how easily other people pay attention but I just can’t
- It takes too much energy
- There are too many people in my life that need attention
You’ve heard them over and over. Their excuses may not be these exact words, but you know them. And frankly, we all have excuses/reasons why we don’t meet other people’s expectations; some reasonable, some unreasonable. The question is, can we pay attention to our expectations of others?
Together, Let’s Work on These
- Be aware of our expectations. This takes work, but it’s worth it
- Check for the reasonableness of our expectations. Do we think that someone will always behave the way we want? That’s not reasonable. Have I listened to what the other person says about why they can’t meet our expectation?
- Have I worked to verbalize my expectations? This is tough because if we say it out loud, then that gives the other person the chance to say… no. And if we don’t say it out loud, maybe they’ll do it and we’ll get what we want. But let me assure you, that whatever the let down of the conversation regarding the expectation… it is superior in every way to not verbalizing what you want or expect.
Let’s see what we can do to help ourselves love those who deserve it.