Our expectations aren’t often something we consciously think about. We even create them without thinking about it. So what’s wrong with that and why are our expectations the root of our emotional well being?
So often we hear that anger, depression, happiness and other emotions are internal. The fact of the matter is that they’re actually external. Our emotions reflect how we feel about an environmental stimulus. So what does that mean?
How many times did something exceed your expectations and gave you a really nice, joyful feeling? On the contrary, how many times have you had expectations that weren’t met and you ended up being completely disappointed? Our expectations should be dealt with delicately, especially if we’re going to actively set them. For example, if we are setting goals and create a deadline that isn’t realistic, we might never meet it. Most of the time, when people do not meet their own deadlines, they lose motivation.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
If we set goals with reasonable expectations and we exceed those expectations, we feel unstoppable, but let’s think smaller. Expectations can affect us on a small scale as well. How about the time we buy someone a gift that we just KNOW the person we’re buying it for will love? What happens when they open it and are disappointed? We feel bad about it.
Think about the difference between tripping on an everyday walk vs slipping and falling while ice skating? Most of us are not so upset when we fall skating because it’s EXPECTED that the possibility of slipping and falling is so high. Now imagine walking down the street to the store and step on a couple of stray acorn. If you fall, you’ll get up bitter and upset.
Expectations & your Paradigm
I’ve saved the best for last. The worst offender when it comes to expectations is having a world view, values that conflict with natural principles. For example, if someone is very religious and see’s a porn convention, they may get very angry because their values are not reinforced. People who have a world view or set values are always stressed out when the world doesn’t run the way they’d like to see it run. If a person believe in karma and a murderer never gets caught for his crime, they may become depressed.
Most people get depressed and upset because they expect the world to revolve a different way and fight fiercely against the natural current of things. Take the world as it is, don’t take the world how you’d like to see it! Don’t create artificial expectations and set yourself up to fail.