“Expecting people to do what you would do in a situation only leads to your disappointment, not theirs.” Oprah.
So true. How often have you found yourself saying, “I would never treat someone like that.” “I would never do that to someone.” “I would never say something like that.” “I would never lie like that.” ? The true problem here isn’t the phrase “I would never”, it’s the feeling that what you think, feel and believe is the cultural norm. We expect others to have the same values, compassion, rule set and interpersonal strengths that we do-which isn’t realistic. If you don’t learn to rethink your expectations of other people, you will continue to enter the same cycle of bad feelings and frustration repeatedly.
According to Exploring Your Mind, non-betrayal, sincerity, respect, and fidelity are the pillars that support healthy relationships. There is nothing wrong with having standards, we just can’t expect everyone will meet these standards. The way I see it, when a person doesn’t live up to my expectations, it’s my choice to decide what to do with that information. I can either accept it or not, that’s in my control. Here are some tips on how to let go of your expectations of other people, in a healthy way:
1. Acknowledge that nobody is perfect, not even yourself. It’s your choice to accept or not accept another’s imperfection. Expect people will let you down.
2. People aren’t mind readers and won’t know your expectations unless you communicate them. Even when you communicate your expectations there is no guarantee that someone will comply.
3. Acknowledge your own strengths. If you would be proud of yourself for handling the situation according to your own expectations, give yourself a pat on the back for knowing yourself and what’s in your control.
4. There is more than one way to handle a situation. Sometimes we can learn from others what we like and don’t.
5. Ask yourself if you would be hurt if your expectations were not there. This is a great way to raise your self-awareness and reflect.
6. Zoom out and think of the bigger picture. Does this unmet expectation get in the way of what your goal is for the relationship? If it does, then you have a decision to make. If it doesn’t, keep chugging along.
If you can relate and find yourself in an endless cycle of bad feelings from unmet expectations, it’s time to make a change. You need to put the focus back on yourself and what’s in your control. If you leave your happiness to other people, you may never find it consistently. People WILL let you down in life, many times, you can expect this. You can also expect a quicker recovery from it when you realize it’s YOUR decision how you move forward. And on another note, when you stop focusing on the ones who let you down it may free up some space to see the ones who don’t! Let’s go, YOU GOT THIS!