“If I expect nothing of you, it will be far easier to forgive your offenses than if I place my whole world in your hands.”
– Richelle E. Goodrich
Welcome to this week’s Unpack! Today’s quote is on expectations, from American author and novelist Richelle E. Goodrich.
Do expectations get you into trouble?
I think most of us have struggled with this at some point in our lives. We’ve had expectations (sometimes high, sometimes low) of others, or of life in general, and they may not have been met. Then we’ve had to deal with the fall out from the unmet expectation, arriving as disappointment, anger, hurt, jealousy and so on. The outcome sucks, but the expectations is what started it.
Who do we have expectations of? Anyone really. We of course quite often have expectations of our partner, children, parents, coworkers and friends, but beyond that we have expectations of other drivers on the road, other shoppers in the supermarket, or even people we meet at a party. We expect that they will be pleasant, kind, helpful, considerate and so on. Most commonly of all, we expect that they will meet our needs, whether expressed or not.
We also have expectations of how life will unfold. That things will work the way we want, that our project will be a success, that we will get that new job or our team will win the final. When things don’t go our way, we get to feel all the negative emotions and blame the world for not working how it should!
But, what if we stopped? Stopped having expectations, and just accepted life, and the people in it, as it, and they, are. Do you think it’s possible?
Often when we have an expectation, we assume that it’s for the best – and then we place our capacity for happiness on the expectation being met. But how can we even know what’s best? As this story illustrates, anything that happens can be construed in whatever way we choose, and at the core of it, we can’t really have any idea of what is “good” or “bad” as we are experiencing it. In the meantime, our idea of how it should be can wind up destroying what is, and we relying on something external to us to bring us happiness or satisfaction.
Is it time for you to let go of some of your expectations and just let people, and life, be?
Have a wonderful week!
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