Great Expectations

I’ve expected a lot of things over the years. No, scratch that, I’ve hoped for a lot of things, and only in hindsight did I realize I had expected them. I had hoped that my marriage wouldn’t fail if I only did this, or that, or whatever. Wrong. I had hoped that the divorce would be amicable if I was overly nice and swallowed my pain and anger and let him spew his hurtful words. Wrong [though it’s gotten much better since the finale]. I had hoped to find a job quickly in PA. I had hoped to get several things published that were bounced back at me. Way back when, I had hoped to… well, there’s a lifetime. I’m sure anyone could easily fill a page worth of lifetime hopes that just didn’t make the final cut, so let’s move on.

Let’s look at hope and expectations, and break it down. Because they really are different. Hope is that final twinkle, that glimmer that something will work out. When you’ve done everything possible, and you sit back and cross your fingers—that’s hope. If you really boil it down, it’s weak and relies on outside influences, which is never a good thing. But at the same time, hope comes with work. You put your effort in and now you’re waiting on others, or outcome, or whatever. Expectations are similar, but based on something strong enough to upgrade it from hope. There’s a touch of belief and some aggression involved. But unlike hope, expectations don’t necessarily come with the work. They’re hope for others, rather than self. And as such, they rely on outside influences far too much, and can be crushing when not realized. Other than painful, unrealized expectations can be damaging—to your chi, to friendships, etc.

A wise man once said, “The greatest disappointment in life is expecting others to act/react like you would.” Those words have stuck with me. They’ve been there in times of contemplation, they’ve been there in times of disappointment. They are good words. But disappointment sucks, so what do you do about it? Do you stop expecting others to do/act/behave a certain way? How? Or do you lower your standards so that they’ll fit and your disappointment will be muted? Ugh, no, that won’t do.

A lot of layer peeling and digging deep in the past few months has garnered a different me. Yeah, yeah, I’m happier, but on a different note, I get myself more. I know what I want, what I like, what I’ll put up with. And I noticed that I also find myself with new expectations and new disappointments—a whole new cookie jar of hope. I don’t plan on lowering my standards. I don’t plan to stop hoping for the best reaction. I am, however, chanting that wise saying like a mantra and getting it through my thick skull that you can’t control others, their behavior, their actions, and can only deal with the aftermath if what they think or do or say touches you. Afterall, there’s likely a reason they did what they did that fits their own logic—their hopes and expectations.

Here’s to hoping my expectations work out… [oh yeah, that’s totally setting me up for some good blog material disappointment, but hey, what’s a writer if not tortured?!!]

[Cheating this week: Wednesday blog instead of Monday and no coffee talk… we’ll return to our regular schedule next week.]

0 Responses to Great Expectations

  • Sheryl says:

    Great blog post. I am in constant need of a reminder that there are things that are out of my control as well, including other people for sure. Glad you’re learning to discover yourself and what you want. I’m working on that! Thanks for the reminders!

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