Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Expecting the Best, never mind the Rest

BAD! Kitty Art Studio
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Are your Expectations too High?
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The cornerstone of a healthy life is taking responsibility for your own happiness rather than blaming someone else. By setting reasonable expectations for those around you, you can manage how you react to situations and minimize disappointment. This applies to all of your relationships -- not just with your lovers.

With Family
Family relationships are notoriously sticky. You've known your family your whole life, yet chances are, you're continually disappointed by the same things over and over again. Rather than setting yourself up for pain and frustration, try to understand how your loved ones will behave -- and don't expect anything else from them. If you know your sister always forgets your birthday, don't get your hopes up that this year, she'll finally remember.

It's okay to express your hurt when someone disappoints, especially if you can find a healthy, non-threatening way to share your feelings. But don't expect things to change. You can't control what someone else says or does, but you can always control how you react. Managing your expectations will allow you to bounce back from hurt and be more forgiving.

At Work
Most people want to believe that if they do their best and work hard, they'll eventually be rewarded. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Sometimes you have a bad boss who'd rather point out your flaws then encourage your strengths. Or you're assigned a partner who takes credit for all the work you've done. Or you're employed by a corrupt company that overworks and underpays you.

If your situation is bad enough, you should make a move to a better job. But if that's not possible, you'll have suck up your unhappiness and try to make the most of your days. The best way to manage your expectations at work is to remember that it's just a job. Do your best to keep the way you're treated at work separate from your personal identify and self-worth. Make an effort to leave your stresses and frustrations at work instead of bringing them home and allowing them to effect your personal life. Remember, you work so that you can live, not the other way around.

In Love
From the moment you meet someone, there are a thousand different opportunities to have your heart broken -- usually because he doesn't live up to the ideal you have in your head. Women tend to have strong expectations for what a partner should be like, and when a man inevitably falls short, they end up disappointed.

The best way to avoid disappointment in romance is to adjust your expectation for each stage of the relationship. If you meet a great guy and he asks for your phone number, don't start planning the wedding. Considering the number of men who don't call when they say they will, it's reasonable to say there's 50/50 chance a guy will call. This type of thinking allows you to be less attached to the outcome: if he calls, great…but if not, well it's his loss.


Even at later stages of a relationship, it's important to let go of your unrealistic expectations. Your partner is not a fairy tale prince, but a real-life man with faults and challenges. Learn what those are and try to help him overcome them -- but at the same time, adjust your own expectations. In the long run, you'll both be less frustrated by shortcomings and more impressed with successes.
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I have been working on this issue for years...I am a high expectation person. I have always thought that because I expect a lot of myself, that it's important to expect a lot out of those that I love too.
I have learned that makes for a lonely social life, and a family life that can become very bleak. Now... I think it's important to have healthy expectations of yourself and even our children because that creates a healthy tension. Boundaries are important for everyone, just as long as they are not over the top.
I also have been discovering that too high a self expectation level is an art killer. I can't think about being the best at anything until I have given myself time to learn all the rules of the situation and practice new skills... not judge myself too much while in process. The most important thing that this exercise has taught me is: art has no rules that are hard and steadfast...and I don't want to feel like crap while learning new things...talk about a mood killer! There will always be someone who is better than me and that is a good thing. We all need people to look up to, emulate and learn from.
I am cool with that today. I am also cool with people not being perfect, or living up to my personal standards...I am still not OK with people in my life that I have taken the time, trust and energy to explain a situation too, like "please don't ignore me it makes me feel unimportant. Just tell me how you really feel, good bad or indifferent, I want to know the truth always." To then have that person do exactly what you asked them not to do, because it causes emotional pain...I am not cool with that at all. But learning to relax around just about everything else and becoming more forgiving in the process has created a place in my brain pan that is more inviting for new people, places, experiences and things...I have room for life to happen and bloom now. That's a good thing.
So, what are your expectation levels?
Are they healthy for your life today?
Tell Me...I'd really like to know.
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Yours in expecting a good day :)
Heather
www.badkittyartstudio.com

3 comments:

Amber said...

Oh, this is an excellent post!

I could talk for hours on this type of subject.

Just a bit of history for you about where I come from. I grew up in an emotionally unhealthy household...every single one of us was emotionally unhealthy and we took it out on the rest of us all the time. It was a vicious unending cycle. I was miserable...beyond miserable around the time when I was 26 - 27. I was not into computers at all...the net, what the hell is that?! lol. But I was so beyond feeling even slightly good that I reached out anywhere for something to help me. The plethora of information that I found on the net has changed my life forever. I learned about codependance, healthy relationships, listening skills, ready body language etc. I am by far any sort of expert, but what I have learned so far has helped me change my entire perspective on everything. It was a HUGE overhaul for me.

In short, I stopped talking to all of my family members for periods of time. I stopped the unhealthiness in my life in it's tracks in all angles...the hardest things that I have ever done to this day, and I continue to work on this each and every day.

I am happy to say that I do talk to my family now and we have all built happy healthy boundaries and relationships. We still have our normal disruptions, as is human, but nothing like the tirades we used to.

The things that I have learned that I value the most are: I cannot control the world around me. I cannot make any adult stop what they choose to do. If someone does something that hurts me, I have control over the hurt, but nothing more. I've learned that Everyone has a different way of expressing themselves and even though *I* would mean a certain thing by doing something, I can't expect that another person feels the same way when they do that same thing. I have learned to stop assuming. We all have our own language, even if we speak the same one. We all use different words to mean different things, or we perceive those words in a sentence differently based on past experiences. Our human nature, our feelings, our past, colours everything. Communication is the key, which can make things extra difficult if one party is not interested in communicating.

I have learned to let go...to stop trying to understand everything...to stop the hurt that I used to feel so often. I am all I need and I don't expect anything from anyone. I appreciate beyond words all that I do receive, and leave it at that. I've learned to stop over analyzing things and let the humour back in to my life. Laughter is essential in my life and I think comedians have one of the most important jobs out there. I have tremendous respect for people that can help others smile and laugh and release some of that hurt by seeing it in a different light.

Thanks for this today Heather, that was a really great read! :) Take care my friend.

HMBT said...

Hey Amber, wow thanks! I too grew up in a VERY unhealthy household, (actually that is a huge understatement) and have spent most of my adult life learning to overcome and understand it. I have a hard time making friends to this day... but because I am not lowering my expectaions but rather just being more understanding and like you said learning that communication is King...I have made room for socialization in general, and I have more fun doing it too now. I am so glad we know each other, you made my day by relating to my post and understanding my intentions with it!!! I love the person you are, and I am glad to call you my friend!! Wahoo for us...overcoming and adapting to the world at large and becoming sucessful within it as well.
Love to ya!
Heather

Amber said...

Oh I definitely hear you! It's interesting because I had a feeling you may have experienced similarities with your past as I have. I can usually sense that sort of thing. It's almost as if it opens us up to be more emotional or something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I can usually sense this in a person based on how they like to communicate. :) I am glad to have met you as well!!