Very often, I hear the words, ” I expected that my life would be different”, or ” I expected that I would be married by now and settled”, or “I expected to have a good job” etc etc.
How do we handle and manage these expectations when they do not come to fruition?
We have been trained to believe that things would happen in a specific order and when life does not unfold as our expectations have lead us to believe, we experience feelings of inadequacy, uncertainty, and not in control. From the time we were young, we saw movies that seemed like fairy tales, or we were told we would marry our Prince charming!
Control, however is the key. There is no certainty or guarantees as to how life will unfold for us. I often hear people say “life isn’t fair”. Why would they say that? Do people expect that life should be a certain way? Even though we still maintain out expectations, life proves that it is unreal to experience life the way we think it should go. I use the word “control” as a key word when dealing with expectations. It is only through our own actions that we can control our lives. We have choices, and if we use our best judgment those choices will be the controlling factors as to how our lives will unfold. There is no wrong choice if it was made with good judgment. It may not play out as we expect it to, but then we have to understand that having expectations may cause us to feel as if nothing is going as it should. If we understand that there are no steadfast rules as to our lives, we have to be able to adjust every time to a new set of issues.
Patience is another factor when dealing with expectations. If you take a job with the expectation of it leading to something bigger, patience is a factor. However, control is what leads you to the action of moving forward. It is the choices that we make that create our life pattern. Not our expectations.
If you are strong enough to drop expectations and feel confident in making choices and decisions, then your life will be more directed because you were in control of those decisions.
It takes practice to be patient and it takes practice to lose the expectation. When life does not seem to be going your way, take a step back and think! Ask yourself, did I make the right choice to get to where I want to be? That is the true path of life and the ability to manage your expectations.