Through discussions with multiple of my clients, I’ve come to the realization during these last few weeks that I have to write about something that commonly appears in our lives and has a direct impact on the quality of our living. A singular challenge that we all face.
Expectations. The expectations we hold about how other individuals – and even life itself – ought to be in order for us to be truly happy.
This thought process entails an assumption that other people are bound to act according to our personal moral code, our own beliefs and rules. We make judgements on the basis of what we perceive to be true, acceptable, and inevitable. We abide to our own definitions of consistency, courteousness, intelligence, productivity, kindness, acceptance, and strength. And when others act upon their own value compass, we get irritated, enraged, disappointed.
And we are convinced that every one of those complaints that are brought to light are accurate and shall thus be verified since we are on the right side of the story. What we might fail to realize, however, is the reciprocity of this mindset; other people could have their own list of complaints regarding our behavioral patterns, which they think is fully justified. Consequently, they consolidate these negative emotions, the most common of which is the sense of unfairness.
But what most fail to realize is that whenever we’re overtaken by some negative emotion induced by another individual’s behavior, we are no longer in control; the people to whom we’ve given the right to be unfair to us are the ones who are now in charge.
Comprehending how our mind functions, we can see that most of our irritations outsource from unrealistic expectations. Our expectations are nothing more than a product of our upbringing, and our beliefs about how the people and the world around us should ultimately be. Regardless, we all have our individual sets of values and beliefs, have experienced a unique upbringing, and thus act accordingly. These values and beliefs are usually cultivated through the environment in which the individual lives – whether that is familiar, professional, amiable, etc. Consequently, the more we feel the existence of a gap between an individual and the environments that we’ve learned to live in, what’s left is a pit of complaints and anger.
Quite commonly, people who ask for help from a life coach either hope or are utterly convinced that their complaints will be justified. But coaching does not entail any such verification; it only aims to guide you towards the thoughts and feelings that arise through empowerment, empathy, and acceptance of yourself and others.
Coaching alerts us when we become mere judges of situations and individuals, and it carefully asks questions that allow us to deeply think what we’re feeling – unfairly treated, in our case. The pieces of the puzzle gradually come together, and we gain a newfound alignment with our inner reality. Through time, that puzzle is complete, and we feel more connected to ourselves and others. We begin to realize there are ways to be happy that do not involve others acting according to our own expectations.
If you accept, and take responsibility for yourself and your every moment, then you’ll be in a better position to productively confront the challenges in your way.
Consider this: perhaps you’re more responsible for your own happiness than you’ve allowed yourself to be until now – keeping yourself occupied with the sentiment of discontent about other people’s actions.
- Stop being enraged with your spouse for finding the time to train at the gym while you’re too busy with the kids.
- Stop thinking that unless someone is in your group of friends, you can’t have fun
- Stop believing that if someone is not polite enough towards you, that they do not respect you
- Stop justifying that if one of your superiors retracts something that you have agreed, that they’re necessarily a bad manager
On the contrary, try to focus your energy on thinking how you will act in order to cover your needs in the best way possible; best for yourself, your values, and in a way that makes you feel aligned with you Self.
There’s always a way. For instance, allow people to take on their own responsibilities; do not exhaust yourself to the point of feeling drained, and normalizing a sense of sacrifice that you expect others to recognize. Comprehend what an enormous waste of time this is – and do yourself the courtesy of avoiding this pit.
Allow yourself to be liberated from the constant recycling of dissatisfaction and distress about people in your life and situations that you face.
It’s essential that you re-examine your expectations and notice how your sentiments are altered because of them.
Here are certain healthy ways that can help you in this examination:
- When entering an unknown situation, do ask yourself:
- What do I expect to happen?
- Where did my expectations come from?
- How realistic are they?
All answers come from true realization. Acknowledging what your assumptions are is a wonderful starting point. Deciphering what you should be expecting is another good idea.
- When feeling disappointed, ask yourself:
- Were my expectations realistic?
- If yes, make a plan to ensure that next time you can get what you want
- If no, learn from this experience and think how you could manage your expectations next time
When you come to the conclusion that your experience was not the one you expected, search for the positives in that given situation or person that left you discontent. You may notice that once you overcome the feeling of disappointment, you found something you couldn’t formerly see.
This can enable you to be more appreciative and allow you to concentrate more positively on what you can do to materialize the experiences you wish to live.
This can signify your own inflexion point, which will provide you with the tools to begin a new journey. Be empowered, give you Selves what they need, and forget about what other people are doing. Permit people to do what they can. Believe me, people always do what’s best for them. Always.