I compare realizing our expectations to wearing eyeglasses. Most of the time I’m unaware I’m wearing my glasses. (Unless they are as cloudy and in need of cleaning as they are right now!) They are simply the way I see the world. It’s the same with my expectations. I may not be aware of them, but they are the filter through which I watch my world.
In order to manage our expectations, we need to realize exactly what they are. How do we do that?
- We realize our expectations by taking the time to think carefully about what it is we want.
- We realize our expectations by using anger as our “expectation alarm”, a signal that tells us we are upset about something. We need to stop and recognize what we are angry about and exactly what we are not getting that we want.
- We realize our expectations by talking the matter out with someone who can help us get to the root of what those expectations are. This might be the person we are expecting something from. It might be a friend who knows us well. It may be a counsellor who is skilled at helping us uncover what it is we really want.
- We realize our expectations by being honest – with ourselves and with others – about what it is we truly desire.
While we may assume realizing our expectations is a simple and obvious process, this may not be the case. It can be difficult to be that specific and open about what we want. To be so specific may mean we admit something about ourselves we want to keep private. To be so open may be embarrassing to us.
In practice, it is not always easy to fulfill this first action of our process. But if we are to manage our expectations in a healthy and effective way, it is a very necessary step to take.
Question: What am I currently expecting that is affecting a relationship I am in? How specific can I be about that expectation? Am I willing to share that expectation with this other person?
© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014
“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press.