Updated: Nov 8, 2022
If you listen to the news or even your friend talk about something or someone, you realize that much of their narrative has to do with unfulfilled expectations. People try to exert control over their surroundings and others by throwing expectations out there, hoping that these will manifest themselves somehow. It is well researched however, that expectations generally set you up for feeling resentful and angry. This actually makes sense since you are leaving up to someone or something to make you happy.
We all have expectations about how others should behave or think. At times, these may be realistic, based on our knowledge and past experiences but most often, these are rather unrealistic. These are called magical thinking. We engage in magical thinking as children, often believing that what we think may come true, but this does not stop in childhood. Superstitions and even the law of attraction are based on magical thinking.
It is interesting how we expect people to behave a certain way when it actually would not be in their best interest! Why should they behave the way you think they should?
We are all adults, and we all have agendas and ways about getting what we want. Short of criminal behavior and actually infringing on someone's civil rights, everyone has a right to live the way they want to live. We all are different, better or worse in certain ways.
You expect your soup to be hot and is lukewarm, you expect your teen to make his bed and find his room is a mess, you go for a routine doctor's appointment and come out with a scary diagnosis, your blind date... so mysterious and promising, turned out to be a psychopath....
Sadly, thousands of examples like this are woven into our unfulfilled lives. The following are some expectations that will certainly make for a very hard life: (X)
1. Life should be fair. Really?? If you are still stuck in that premise, you need some serious work.
2. Opportunities will fall into my lap. NO, you make things happen. No one is going to give you anything. Don't wait for opportunities, create them for yourself.
3. Everyone should like me. Well...not really, and actually it may be concerning if everyone actually liked you. What kind of android are you?? Just focus on earning their respect and trust.
4. People should agree with me. No, no, no... and it is really not personal, they just have a different agenda, different experiences and different ways of handling life in general.
5. People know what I’m trying to say. No, they don't. You have to communicate and do it clearly. We are not mind readers.
6. I’m going to fail. Well, if that is how much credit you give yourself, it will likely happen. Focus on minimizing failure by planning and preparation.
7. Things will make me happy. Things do help in the short term, but real purpose and meaning is what matters. Don't be waiting for something or something to happen to get busy living (that is from Shawshank Redemption-great movie), play the cards you have been dealt to the best of your ability.
8. I can change him/her. Haha...stop trying to "fix" others. Focus on you and try to surround yourself with people who potentiate your greatness.
Ok, so let's get busy. Dr. Fritz Perls gives you a simple plan to draft your own blueprint for happiness:
I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.
—Fritz Perls, "Gestalt Therapy Verbatim," 1969