Exigent Expectations

Posted on May 13, 2013

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Taped Heart

Do you hope for the best but prepare for the worst?

Do you set your expectations high hoping that others will rise to meet them? Do you set them low so that you won’t ever be disappointed? 

It seems like, no matter which side of the road you’re on, your expectations are gonna cause some problems no matter what. If you expect a lot outta people, then you’re bound to get upset and angry when they disappoint you. But if you set them low, you’re not really any better off, either. You’ll be inclined to settle and will set yourself up to consistently seek out the negative.

Take a couple of my clients for example. Andrea (not her real name) has no problem meeting new people. She’s outgoing, energetic and has a great sense of humor. Problem is, every time someone asks Andrea out, she assumes they’re going to be awesome. Before each date, she tells me all of the wonderful things she’s already believes about this new potential partner even though she barely knows them. (In truth, she’s just projecting her own great qualities onto others). She’s an optimist to the end and I’m sure in many areas of her life, this attitude serves her well. But because Andrea’s expectations are sky-high, the aftermath of each new date is painfully disappointing. 

guy_passed_out_at_table

Contrast that to Jane (once again, not her real name). Jane’s a bit older and wiser than most of my clients. She’s been divorced twice, and has gone on more dates than she can count. Jane’s pretty grounded in reality, except when it comes to her romantic life. She assumes that she’s going to be let down, because it’s happened so many times before .(In truth, she keeps her expectations low in order to protect herself). She operates under this assumption consistently and therefore settles for men who are more than happy to keep the bar low. Because she’s so sure that her dates aren’t going to amount to much, she dismisses even the most positive of potentials to prove that her perceptions are correct. 

Bored woman in coffee house with male friend

High expectations and low expectations are both harmful, in their own ways. And not just in the world of romantic relationships, either. Assume all jobs are shitty and you’re never going to leave yours. Expect a person you barely know to be trustworthy and learn how wrong you are when you get swindled. 

The key then, to staying grounded and positive, is to learn how to become an observer when you’re entering into a new area of your life. Later on this month, I’ll show you how can do just this. 

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Posted in: Expectations