Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children makes a home.

~ Irish Proverb ~

Your Great Expectations

February 5th, 2014 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 10 secs

Who said dogs won't stick their tongue out at you?

Who said dogs won’t stick their tongue out at you?

When I think about expectancies, I typically think about goals, with great ones preferable. But there are others that don’t measure up and it’s these that cause us no end of frustration, anger, and stress.

I’m talking about all the should’s and ought’s that we live by. With a full complement of expectations at the ready, we set off every day believing that they ought to be fulfilled.

Take the belief that people should treat us well. We believe the golden rule proves it should be so. Only trouble is it doesn’t always work out that way.

When the guy in the store shoves his way in front of you, cursing about you under his breath, it’s natural to hoist the “not fair” flag.  How can anyone push in, treat us unjustly, display road rage, or be so totally nasty when we are trying to be nice to everyone we see?

Expectations can get in the way.

Because we believe things should be ordered and structured according to justice and fair play, inconsistencies are annoying. So much so that you might go out of your way to reprimand somebody for doing the wrong thing. Just to prove the point.

You can be exasperated by people doing unfair things and it can enrage even the most tolerate folk to see people being so unreasonable. Little wonder, you lament, that people feel so stressed.

But what if we changed our expectations? A few clauses to our internal “rules” could potentially save a lot of grief. Here’s some examples:

  • People usually treat me well when I’m being nice to them. But we all have our moments and some folk aren’t friendly to anyone
  • Individuals will do random and totally ridiculous things at times.  That is predictable
  • Everyone experiences disagreement, lack of sympathy, and indifference, so I do too
  • Whatever I happen to lack I am who I am and that is good enough.

You might like to customize your own expectations with your some tweaks of your own. Yet whatever you choose to do, remember that the more your outlook on others allows for their varied behavior, the less frustrated you’ll be about them.

So when the driver ahead of you swerves across lanes without their indicator on, you’ll automatically know that’s not your responsibility. If you come home and the place is in a state because nobody bothered cleaning up, you will understand it’s a matter for practical discussion, not high drama confrontation.

Absolute expectations not only press the pressure button, they limit our options. So give yourself space to always separate your standards from those of somebody else.

Of course you can cajole, encourage, and insist on high achievement from others. But be careful! There is always the risk that they will feel a failure and you will hit a wall of frustration, believing you really can control someone else.

So what kind of expectancies do you keep that cause you frustration? And do you use any strategies to minimize your aggravation? 

What Children Really Want

Why Be Surprised?

Demotivators At Work


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