Are You Expecting Too Little?
Years ago, I was involved with someone who never kept his promises. Glenn was always late for a date and never called when he said he would. And, in this pre-cell phone era, I couldn't call him. To reduce my frustration, I decided not to have any expectations of him. Also, I didn't want to have my beliefs of how I thought he should act interfere in the relationship.
Unfortunately, since there were no consequences for his actions, it just encouraged his callous behavior. One day, when he was again a half-hour late, I'd had enough and I left. Later, we had a "discussion" about it and all of his other broken agreements with me. Faced with either treating me with more respect or having the relationship end, he said he'd live up to his promises.
The idea that prompted my original attitude was that when you have low expectations, then you're delighted whenever something special comes your way. Trying to have the perfect relationship, best job, or ultimate success can keep you from enjoying the moment. You're always living in the future, dissatisfied and unhappy in the present.
However, the attitude of, "Don't have any expectations. That way you're not disappointed with what you get," means that you never strive to improve your life. You settle for what you have, happy with crumbs that life throws you, and don't believe it can get any better. And with this attitude, your subconscious will only give you what it already has. It can't give you anything more because you're instructing it not to.
Aspiring for something better, and not reaching the apex, can bring disappointment. And disappointment hurts. After a failure, many people stop trying. They're afraid to want more, and just try to be grateful for what they have. But then they don't work hard towards anything, because why strive when they don't believe they'll achieve anything?
In that case, unfortunately, life responds according to our low expectations. By not expecting anything better, we don't work for it. Being satisfied with the status quo, we don't take any actions to stand up for ourselves. By not seeking to improve our job position, we will never put forth any effort to move up.
But is giving up and being complacent the way to grow? Isn't striving part of the learning process? Without moving toward a vision or a goal, then you're not progressing. Very few people succeed the first, second or even fifth time. You learn something new with each attempt, and it makes you stronger and wiser.
Although having unrealistic expectations can undermine the ability to achieve your goals and destroy your happiness, sensible ones can enrich your life. Working toward a realistic goal can build skills, character and get you closer to the life you want.
Wanting to lose 50 pounds in a month would be unrealistic. Deciding to reduce by 5 pounds a month is doable. It may take you awhile to reach your goal weight, but by the time you've lost the weight, you'll have spent months living with your new eating behaviors. This would give you a better chance of maintaining your weight.
Hoping to become manager of your department a month after you first get the job would be unrealistic. However, meeting deadlines and giving more than asked would get you noticed. Before long, you could be asked to lead up a project that would put you on the promotion track.
When you have expectations, you're able to gauge whether your goals are progressing properly or not. They allow you to measure whether you've met your objectives. If you haven't, you adjust them and keep going.
As with everything, there are extremes to having expectations. Having too little can get you stuck in a dead end job, unhappy relationship, or stagnant life. If your expectations are too high or unrealistic, you'll constantly be dissatisfied, unhappy and may eventually give up. However, when you have realistic expectations that require you to work towards them and grow, they'll enrich your life.
What I wanted from a relationship was more than Glenn could give me. He continued to treat me as a convenience. Although it was difficult for me, I eventually ended the relationship with him. I wanted and expected better treatment and respect. Only by desiring something different, taking action towards it, and expecting that your actions will be successful, will you be able to experience something greater in your life.
Copyright © 2009-2017 Linda Ann Stewart
As a speaker, personal and professional development coach, and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart helps business and professional women who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to focus, prioritize and break through so they build more business and create a consistent income. Sign up for her FREE guide, "Take Control of Your Day," at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide-takecontrol.html.You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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