Expectation; (noun) a strong belief that something will happen or be the case
From my own experience and lots of discussions with friends and family it is for sure that with high expectation comes the potential for disappointment. On the other hand I have sometimes told myself that if I have the lowest possible expectations then I am more likely to be pleasantly surprised …. being really honest that is only when I am a bit grumpy and being a bit cynical (not a helpful thoughtful process, I know!)
So neither high or low expectations seem helpful, is there a middle ground of realistic expectation? Or no expectation at all, just an open mind towards everything? My habit of attaching expectations to stuff; situations, experiences, holidays, peoples reactions, is a habit that has formed over a number of years so I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow with a new ‘open mind to everything’ mindset and that’s that ….. habits take time to form and therefore time, and commitment, to change.
So, where to start? As always, with ourselves.
Starting this blog followed a good few months of thinking …. what is my purpose for writing the blog and what am I ‘expecting’ to happen as a result, how will I process other peoples ‘voiced’ expectations?
It was important that I had some clarity here so that I could enjoy doing this as a project. I didn’t want to create any unnecessary pressure of how long I would do this, how often would I write a post, how many people would read it etc?
Someone asked me the other day “how many people are reading your blog then, how do you know how popular it is?” ….. in this case I sensed there was an underlying expectation that was also an automatic measure of success. My ‘inner critic’ immediately came into play and concluded that if no one reads it then it isn’t any good and not successful etc etc but … it felt that an expectation had been set; in order for my blog to be deemed as ‘successful’ then I must have a high number of readers.
After some reflection I reminded myself that I had a choice and didn’t need to latch onto that expectation. It wasn’t my expectation and there is no need for me to put pressure on myself to match other people’s expectations.
Time is best spent managing my own expectations, of myself and my purpose, not wondering how to meet everyone else’s.
Managing these expectations takes thinking space to;
- Be realistic; are we allowing ourselves the time, space and resources to meet our goals and expected outcomes
- Be kind; remember that it is most likely we are doing our best so allow some flexibility, not meeting an expectation doesn’t mean failure, maybe just some fine tuning
- Be self assured; you can only live by your own expectations, if you give yourself time to set realistic, kind expectations then these are the right ones for you, not someone else’s
- Be grateful; there will always be occasions when we fall short of our expectations even when we are doing all of the above. In these times it matters most to take time to reflect and notice all the things that are going really well and recall everything that has met or exceeded our expectations.
In time I would love to think that I have no expectations, I take everything as it comes and I have complete faith and trust that everything is exactly as it should be …. but that’s a really high expectation so I’ll just do my best instead! And know that it is it good enough.