Sister, are you the kind of girl that sets your sights on nothing less than perfection? Do you hold yourself and others to unrealistically high standards and then experience the inevitable disappointment when you/they don’t meet those expectations? You’re not alone, people have been struggling with expectation management for centuries, if not forever! In fact, William Shakespeare famously said, “ Expectation is the root of all heartache”. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to manage your expectations so you can minimize the disappointment and prevent heartache!Before we dive into how you can manage expectations we want to make a disclaimer. Managing expectations does NOT necessarily mean lowering expectations! Having high standards for yourself and others absolutely can enhance well being BUT there is a caveat. Your expectations must be realistic otherwise it is likely that you will encounter let down after let down.
Our 5 step process, outlined below, will help you evaluate whether or not your expectation is realistic. After going through the steps you should have a pretty good sense of whether or not you might want to adapt that expectation so it works work for you rather than against you!
Steps for Evaluating Expectations:
Recognize when you set an expectation of yourself/others.
Do some digging to understand why you set that expectation. What was the fulfillment of that expectation supposed to accomplish?
Was your expectation appropriate for the person and/or situation? Was your desired outcome likely given the circumstances?
How would you feel if the expectation was not met?
Is there a better way to fulfill the need you identified above or meet the desired outcome?
If you determine that you did set an unrealistic expectation then you might want to lower the bar! On the other hand, what if your expectation was realistic? How do you cope when you had every right to expect a certain result or behavior but it didn’t happen? Your reaction is KEY to preventing the heartache.
Tips for Avoiding Disappointment from Unfulfilled Expectations:
Reframe the negative outcome as an opportunity to learn and grow. This is the POWER of positive thinking and it is the one thing that you are completely in control of!
Learn how to be flexible when the outcome is different from what you expected. When putting your best foot forward still fails, be willing to relinquish control. Beautiful things happen when we surrender to what is instead of grieving what should have been! Have faith that, although you might not understand it at the time, all triumphs, failures, set-backs and disappointments are aligned with your highest good!
Be compassionate with yourself and others when an expectation is not met. Decide to see yourself/another/a situation differently.
If this post hit home for you, join us for our next round of Grounded and Glowing! In G&G you will learn how to tackle disappointment, surrender to what is and reframe your thinking! Follow us on facebook and instagram for the latest program updates!