We have all been there, we wanted something to work out so badly, and in the end we were disappointed. We had great expectations, and we were greeted with mediocre results. Maybe you didn’t get the test results you wanted, or that person didn’t want to go on a second date. No matter what it is, we all have expectations for ourselves and our lives. It’s normal.
The problem is when our expectations are set so high that they become unrealistic. This leads to a lot of disappointment. So, to avoid being constantly disappointed by ourselves, others and our situation, we need to manage our expectations. Make sure they don’t get too out of hand.
Step one: be real. You need to be honest and realistic with yourself about what you can expect from the future. I am not saying “don’t be ambitious”. Work towards big goals, if you want, but be honest about how long it will realistically take to achieve those goals. It is easy to measure your life against successful people and feel disheartened. But remember, your life is not theirs – you have your own history and set of circumstances to deal with. Not everyone is going to graduate from Harvard at the age of 15. So be honest and gentle with yourself. Give yourself expectations that suit you, not other people.
Speaking of other people, the same goes for them. Set realistic expectations for others in your life, and they will be far less likely to disappoint you. Don’t let them walk all over you, but at the same time don’t hold them to standards you can’t achieve yourself.
Step two: be open to change. A lot of the time your expectations are not going to be met. Things change, and that’s okay. Next time your expectations are not met, pause and take a deep breath before you react. I know it’s frustrating to be disappointed but going with your gut reaction is not going to help in the long run. Instead, be aware of feeling frustrated, make a mental note of it, and give yourself time to cool off. This will give you a chance to respond to the unexpected change in a way that you’ll be proud of.
I think that’s it for now.
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