When Expectations Lead to Disappointment

When Expectations Lead to Disappointment

Expectations are part of our human experience.

We have expectations that serve us and others that cause disappointment, defeat, setback, anger, and assumption (which we know what happens when we assume)!

Our expectations have the power to negate our joy and set ourselves up for failure.

I am using failure in this context because we are essentially failing ourselves when we expect someone or something external to create a feeling that we want to experience.

Can you think about a recent situation you had where the outcome didn’t meet your expectation? What happened? How did you feel?

How about the flip side to that question? What about a situation where you didn’t have any expectations

Recently, my family and I went on an extended weekend getaway to a little town in California. Something relatively new to me, I had ZERO expectations of this trip and it was amazing.  We haven’t traveled since last September and as crazy as this sounds, I was excited and anxious about it.  Anxious because there were no plans.

As a planner, I used to map everything out to the hour which led to continuous disappointment. It drove me crazy because it was never enough, or close to what I was expecting and I couldn’t enjoy the moment or the experience. Talk about buzzkill.

I’m not suggesting you drop your standards, plans, and all of your expectations either. It’s about being honest and real about going into a situation that you have envisioned in your mind.

Releasing the grip of your expectations.

So what happens when you make expectations and they don’t live up to what you were hoping for.  You are likely to experience anything but positive emotion from it.  Here are a few things you can start thinking about when it comes to your expectations.

1) Honesty. Being honest about the expectation and asking yourself if the expectation is realistic is a great place to start. Are you trying to do too much at once? Is your expectation involving someone else, expecting them to do something when you know its not going to happen? Perhaps you are hoping that they will change their ways.  Anything outside of your control is a great place to start observing what your expectation of the outcome looks like.

2) Accepting what is. If you did everything in your power, then that is all you can do. The rest, well – it’s up to the other person and of course we have no control over what and how they are going to respond or do.  Worrying and trying to control the situation will result in nothing positive.

3) Look at the positive intention behind the expectation. There is always a golden nugget of wisdom and something you can learn about yourself, the situation, and the other person (if involved). Getting curious is much more helpful and productive! Judgement drives more negative emotion and the results you don’t want.

4) Detaching from the outcome. We think that once X happens, then we will FEEL Y.
We invest so much emotional energy into the outcome, we lose sight of the process of getting there. When you detach from the outcome and accept what is, you will experience so many more golden nuggets of opportunity, joy, and the surprises that come along the way.

Circling back to my zero expectation adventure in California…. because I wasn’t focused on all the things we HAD to do as planned, we ended up experiencing so much of the unexpected…

Experiences such as the full moon rise over the Sierra Mountains.

Walking through the ancient Bristlecone pine forest – home to 4,000 year old trees.

Stumbling upon this incredible museum where we had a private tour of how gold is extracted from the mine and prepared for the mint.

We experienced joy, wonder, and amazement without knowing exactly what was next. There was a little bit of disappointment when the hotel pool was closed, so we ventured to the local hot springs pool and swam for hours in natural and cleansing spring water.

Had I planned everything out, we would have missed the magical and exciting moments of the unknown.

What is one expectation can you release today?
 
Cheers,
Alexis
 
 
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