Expectations & falling short

If we don’t come to expect, we will never be disappointed when our expectations of other people fail or fall short.

We all have and deal with expectations, particularly expectations of others. Expectations are part of life’s rich tapestry of course, but it’s only when others let us down and we end up dealing with disappointment that we have to deal with failed expectations too. Failed expectations will always bring about disappointment, there’s no getting away from that.

So how do we deal with expectations and disappointments so we’re not carrying either for longer than we have to? I think the answer lies in our ability to experience and understand our emotional reactions to some of those disappointing experiences through our expectations. We need to take the pressure off.

When we feel an experience, good or bad, we can emotionally figure out what that experience means, even if comes in on the back of an expectation. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important we stand back, at least for a little while so that we can work out a way forward.

As much as it’s tempting to make a decision to move on from a disappointing experience, it’s even more important to know how to deal with those disappointing experiences. We need to understand how and why we got to that stage. We need to be able to manage our emotions and we can only do that when we’re calm and collected. Only then will we be in a position to act.

Unfortunately and it’s a human failing, but we tend to take most of what we experience, personally. We tend to attribute negative experiences to personal failings, instead of separating the two issues. In reality of course, life simply does what it’s meant to do, but sometimes we add to that by misunderstanding the situation or we haven’t thought things through long enough, to consider the various possibilities or opportunities.

Perhaps we must come to look at the bigger picture and think differently, or try another path that helps bring about the right outcome, even if those disappointments come about through failed expectations.


28 Jun, 2016

4 thoughts on “Expectations & falling short

  1. I usually have to temper my naturally high expectations of people, as I have learnt through experience that we are fallible and that can mean falling short of high expectations. Experience has taught me to take things as they come and not to set my expectations high to avoid disappointment.

    It’s a shame that we have to behave like that. I like to think that people behave towards me the way I do to them, but that’s not always the case; so taking out expectations from the equation helps. The human condition is we let people down.

    1. I actually work a different way to the way you describe in your response and don’t necessarily agree life has to be like this.

      I think that if more of us emotionally cared about ourselves, our behaviour towards ourselves would outwardly mirror itself towards others and those expectations you talk about would co-exist in all of our lives perfectly.

      If we don’t have high expectations of ourselves, I’m not sure how we can expect to see high expectations in others. The human condition is we let people down because we don’t care enough to make a difference.

  2. I stopped having any real expectations about life at an early age, since I was so often disappointed. My parents were great for building our hopes up, but then never coming through, so eventually we didn’t even bother.

    I don’t think they had any real expectations about us, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to try so hard when they wouldn’t ever notice anything that we did. I often wondered why they even bothered having us, considering they treated us more like such burdens rather than children, who should be loved and appreciated.

    My expectations couldn’t get any lower at this point, which is truly sad considering what life has to offer!

    1. How sad. My experiences were very similar to yours Randy so I know how you feel when it comes to expectations.

      I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember honing in on any expectations my parents might have had. I think I was too wrapped up in my own personal physical issues to be concerned about other people’s expectations.

      I think it’s only when we stop trying or even think about other people’s expectations, we can move on without thinking about what those expectations might be. Whatever other people think should be immaterial to us.

      Sometimes we’ve just got to get on with what’s right for us, rather than think about or worry about other people’s expectations, because at least the pressure’s off. It doesn’t however, stop us having expectations of other people. Perhaps if none of us came to expect, we’d all get on better.

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