Learning to manage expectations
Learning to manage expectations. Is an important thing and usually difficult. This actually is a process that we have to deal with constantly. I was at a place yesterday and I walked into the room at the hotel “expecting” a set of things. I think I had managed my expectation adequately and everything in the room seemed like what I expected it to be. Things were not perfect – and they usually never are – but it was as I thought it would be. That made the space good – that it did not violate my expectations. These expectations are ours, the room never said that you can expect this from the room. It is us, with what we see, what we read, what we experience, we create these expectations. In the case of a room at a hotel, the matter is temporary, and one forgets soon and moves on. But expectations are about everything. If we do not have expectations then we have come to a point of despair in life where one enters the vacuum of a listless monotony where hope has disappeared and we have descended into the lowest strata of existence and simply await the end. This often happens with the expectations about relationships when expectations are stamped out or simply ignored. The magic of a relationship is precisely what one expects out of it. When the expectations are met the relationship lives and grows. When the expectations are shattered the relationship is killed. People build these expectations of each other as a relationship grows, and the fulfilment of the expectations nurture the relationship. That brings stability in every aspect of our existence. But the fallacy is that we actually believe we have the power to fulfil the expectations of another person. Because we are often powerless, and even if you want to smile at the person at the far end of the room in a party, you cannot because there are powers that tell you – that smile is not allowed. That violates some pre-existing order of things and unbridled expectations must be set down. The most painful moment of expectations is when you know you want to fulfil the expectations of another person but you simply know you are unable to or not allowed to. And when circumstances and forces outside of one’s control prohibit the fulfillment of the expectation, a deep despair sets in. In that despair is the bleeding wound. In that despair is the recognition that the only thing that can be expected is that I would be willing to bend and be satisfied with what I get and what I can give – and my expectations simply do not matter. At that moment you know you have been “taken for granted” and you will accept whatever is thrown your way because you are at fault because you failed to manage your expectations. Thank you and no thank you, if you are disappointed and in despair that is your problem, I, unfortunately have my problems and cannot fulfil your expectations. The fact that we have to manage our expectations all the time reminds us that we are always controlled by forces that we cannot challenge. I am powerless to fulfil your expectation, even if I wanted to, and thus you must manage your expectation. Too many suffer through this process as The Boss, Bruce, said it: “Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down.” It is only when we can clearly list our expectations – what to give and what to receive – and fearlessly move towards the goals – have we been able to break free as an individual and not someone who is held within a system that must always judge and punish: Your expectations are denied.