I have written before about my struggles with managing my expectations, and I thought for the longest time that I was one of the only people who had a hard time with this. As I looked around, it seemed to me that everybody else was really great at this, going through life with what they wanted being in perfect alignment with what they got, and everything just hunky dory. It pissed me off, wondering why everybody else seemed so good at this, and I completely sucked. I spend most days thinking that I want certain things, that I deserve some stuff, and yet – nothing. It’s so frustrating.
Thankfully, I’ve had a few situations come my way recently that have shed some light on this one for me. This weekend, a girlfriend of mine called, all upset about a situation she was going through. She had met a really nice guy recently and was totally into him, and was feeling pretty positive about the two of them and the possibility of things blossoming into a relationship. However, there was one thing missing: sex. They had only tried to get it on twice during their dating time, and it didn’t ‘work’ either time. The wind wasn’t in the sails, if you get my drift. She tried talking to him about it, and his response was that he was really nervous, which was affecting his performance. She had a most unusual reaction to this – whereas most of us may take this as a sign that he likes us a lot and embark on a quest to put him at ease and help him relax, she responded with, “If he’s nervous about being with me, then he thinks he’s dating up and that I’m too good for him, and if he thinks that then he’s probably right and I am too good, so …maybe I should end it and find someone much better looking who is more of my equal”.(she clearly has a rather inflated sense of self, but…that’s a story for a different day) Her expectations were that he should be boning her 24-7 and thanking his lucky stars that her lady business welcomed him in – and the fact that there’s a tiny bump in the road wasn’t part of her plan at all. I’m not sure how this scenario will play out, whether she will dump the guy and move on to someone more Zoolander-ish, or whether she will stick it out and try to work through this rather awkward situation. What would you do? 🙂
Every day I work at managing my expectations – I regularly think that things ought to go a certain way for me at work, and when they don’t and there are roadblocks, I get frustrated and wonder why I expected so much in the first place. When I want to spend time with people and they aren’t as gung ho about it as I am, I get annoyed and can’t understand their indifference…why do I think they are every shade of awesome, and they are kind of ‘eh’ about me…that bugs the shit out of me! 😦 The worst part is that as much as I expect of those around me (which is too much, I know), I expect WAYYYYYY more from myself – and do I ever get pissed off when I fail to live up to my own hype. It sadly happens far too often. 😦 The experts have a ton of opinions on how to make expectations more realistic, how to manage your ideals of your self, and how to give yourself a break – here’s a few of their tips:
- Discover that everything we need to be happy, we already have inside ourselves
- Realize that our happiness does not have to be contingent on people, places, or things
- Learn to differentiate between reality and unrealistic expectations
- Engage in relentless communication with ourselves and those around us. Surely we are intelligent enough to realize that all we really have control over is what’s happening right now in this moment.
That’s some good advice, don’t you think? Some researchers at The University of Texas Austin had the following suggestions on managing your expectations when it comes to relationships:
- Communicate what your needs and expectations are; expectations should be kept within reason.
- Be willing to negotiate and compromise on the things you want from one another.
- Do not demand that your partner change to meet all your expectations. Work to accept the differences between your ideal mate and the real person you are dating or married to.
- Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with one another all the time, but rather understand and respect each other’s differences, points of view and separate needs.
- Where critical differences do exist in your expectations, needs or opinions, try to work honestly and sincerely to negotiate. Seek professional help early rather than waiting until the situation becomes critical.
- Do your best to treat your partner in a way that says, “I love you and trust you, and I want to work this out.”
I think there are some really good ones in there, don’t you? I personally find it really hard to handle when I am disappointed by someone, when I expect them to be one way and do things a certain way…and when that doesn’t happen, well, I find it sometimes crushing. A lot of it comes down to effort – I try my best with most things that I do, I mean well, and I expect that from others…which can be, at times, unfair. People are who they are, and they do what they do, and the sooner I – and all of us – realize that, the better off we will be. Do you agree? 🙂
I have been doing a lot of reading recently on the idea of ‘Manifesting’, and using the power of your positive thoughts to bring things to life. This idea, also known as the law of attraction (as well as about a hundred different titles), is nothing new, and there are many, MANY great believers in the magic and the power of this concept. I love the idea of it – if you think good things, they will happen…it’s kind of like ‘Field of Dreams’ – “if you build it, they will come”. However, the ‘do-er’ in me finds this to be a tough one – for me, it’s not always enough to just think something and believe it with every ounce of my being…I want to, no make that HAVE to, be doing something to make my dreams come true. I often wonder if I gave myself a break, focused more on the positive thoughts and their power in the universe, if I may not find the success and good things that I so crave??! 🙂 One idea of manifestation that I can really get on board with is the idea of not speaking badly about yourself…I have LONG suffered from this one – I’m the first person to insult myself, my sharp and cutting remarks launch out of my mouth as a preemptive strike of sorts, in the hopes that whatever unkind words somebody else may make towards me will pale in comparison to the self-depracating chatter that I already said. Isn’t that ridiculous? I know. I used to think that these sort of self-mocking comments were charming, but they aren’t – not in the least. They are hurtful, stupid, and unnecessary. I don’t need to do anything but sing my own praises – and I sure don’t need to make fun of myself. I may not be perfect, I’m not gorgeous, or brilliant, or talented, or successful…but I am me. And that’s all that I can expect from myself….and it is MORE than enough. 🙂