A late night tweet from me saying “Happiness is yours when you learn to manage your expectations from/of others and make it a preference instead of a need” brought on a flurry of retweets and replies from people.
As it turns out, I’m not alone when it comes to expecting things and being disappointed when I don’t get what I want. Astonishing, isn’t it ;)?
Anyone who’s ever felt the same way, wiggle your pinkie finger now!
Hm, why do I KNOW you’d just as easily as me lay a wager on our expectations being the root cause of most unhappiness? Feel free to say it isn’t so if I’m being presumptuous.
In my experience, there are various types of expectations – from expecting love, respect, dignity, and justice, to expecting people to do certain things for you whether they like it or not, treat you like a prince/princess, spend more time with you than their friends, come home on time, buy you gifts, etc.
But here’s the thing. I’m not saying any of these are good or bad.
They just are what they are and will affect your mojo as much as you let them.
It’s when some expectations start affecting the quality of your daily life experiences and relationships and lead to disappointment, anger, insecurity, fear, grief, frustration, doubt and worry, that you might want to step back and ask yourself a few questions. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the cesspool of blame and disappointment, that is.
Questions that might go somewhat like:
- Am I expecting too much from others?
- WHY do I need that (from them)?
- What am I asking others for that I’m not giving to myself?
- What do I really want that’s behind these wants? I.e, do I want to be heard, loved, seen, respected, nurtured, validated?
- Recognise the desire beneath the want. Then decide if it’s a non-negotiable or a whim.
What next? How can you go about learning to *manage* your expectations (and should you even do that?).
Call it acknowledging, changing, reframing, or anything you like but know that you create your reality and can choose to expect with attachment or detachment – that will be a big factor in how you ultimately experience it.
And while we’re at it,
Realise that no matter who you are, NO one owes you anything.
Yes, it’s bloody fantastic when people meet our expectations, just be aware that it won’t happen all the time and neither is that healthy. If you always got what you wanted, then what about others’ wants that might clash with yours? And where would your learning come from?
Make it a preference instead of a need.
Preference = unattached to outcome. Need = attached to outcome.
When there is a preference you would like something to be a certain way but regardless, your happiness doesn’t depend on it.
When you *need* something, you’re creating and focusing on the lack around you and letting it control your happy button.
Us humans will always have wants, needs, desires and expectations, some of which will come to fruition and some that won’t. If the ultimate goal is happiness, then consider this as one more tool to help you along the way.
What role do expectations play in YOUR life? Was there a time you successfully changed an expectation that was keeping you stuck and what was the result? Looking forward to hearing your insights and experiences!