Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What did you expect?

Expectations can be a road bloke to happiness.

By way of example let's look at the "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace". If you were like me and had grown up with the Star Wars then you had certain expectations for the movie, expectations it did not live up to. Because of this when we left the movie theater we felt hurt, disappointed and to some extent offended by what we had seen. This sort of reaction happens to us every day.

By being aware of what we expect, keeping those expectations realistic, and understanding that expectations are not reality we can avoid letting them affect our happiness. Before we go into a situation we are excited about, or nervous, or scared for that matter, we should take a look at what we think will happen. When I am in this situation I ask myself is that really what I think will happen? Am I setting myself up for disappointment? If I answer no to the first or yes to the second question I try to adjust my expectations.

In my experience I find that I get the most disappointed, or worried when I let my expectations become unrealistic. I hope for too much and then it is never delivered and so no matter how good something may have been it is not good enough.

Down grading your expectations while keeping your hopes high is the key, this is an important distinction to make: Expectations are things we plan to experience. Hopes are things that we want to experience. This is why we feel let down when our expectations are not met, we had planned on those experiences happening and when they don't in some small way it breaks our heart. That may seem overly dramatic but think about it. We feel let down, like the other does not care what we want, we feel excluded from what is going on because our own expectations of the event where not met.

We can never keep absolute control over the actions of others but we can control what we expect to happen.


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