Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Thought on Expectations

Expectations~ Have you ever thought about that word, really thought about it? Funny, how one word can take on a whole new meaning each and every time you fit it into a situation....or maybe not so funny.

To be honest, that is not a word I think about too often. However, the past couple of weeks, I certainly have contemplated it's meaning. Consequently, I discovered that while I am able to quickly find fault when this is applied to others or situations, likewise, when I looked closely, I found myself lacking as well.

Disclosure: I find that because of the nature of this topic, I may or may not point out what exact things in this post that may apply to me or someone else. Saying that, if you feel I am calling you out on my blog, know I am not......you have no idea the people I talk to on a daily basis, and well, this may be about them not you! Just let your conscious be your guide, not my words. I don't point fingers...only thoughts!

Sometimes, conversations trigger thoughts or words and their meanings for me. This is one of those times. More times than not, it can be a light bulb moment and while that is sometimes a positive experience, other times it has the opposite effect. I have discovered that
expectation really does not have one meaning so easily sized up on Wiki....no, it has several meanings and circumstances play a big role.

According to Wikipedia, expectations is explained as; "In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centred on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order.

Friendships and expectations are a tricky thing. Our friends are the ones who may or may not have "known" expectations in the relationship. Sometimes, months or years will pass and while all is going smoothly, you may not be aware of what is brewing underneath. It is almost like a silent code between friends has formed. It is the "expectation" of a friends' behavior, when not met that will send a once stable relationship on the brink of crashing. I think this is because somewhere during when the relationship was forming, one or both parties shaped their ideals of the relationship into what they expected from the other person. The lines were drawn in the sand and expectations were set up not to be crossed. Like I said, a silent code. A solid wall will tumble if the lines in the sand were crossed....and this became the thought process and the basis on which the worth of the friend was measured. If you find this bell rings true, think about the other person, do you think they might have built a wall very much like yours? What about their expectations?......hard to consider when you are hurt or feeling betrayed by your friend. But a good friend is not measured on how they live or not live up to your expectations. A good friend is measured on their ability to forgive our faults and build a stronger relationship and move forward. Important to remember.

The expectations that give people the most trouble in their lives are the unspoken expectations. I don't mean the expectations we have on our children or spouse, of course we expect certain things from them,
sometimes we demand it. Those are really surface expectations and most of the time fall into the laws of nature and life. I am talking about things that are much deeper than that.

What about the expectations we have on others that just sit on the surface of our being? The one's that sit like a ticking time bomb. The one's that will come in the dark of the night and remind us that they or we don't measure up to our liking? Where do you think this comes from? Certainly not out of a sense of entitlement, at least for most of us I think it is much more.

Maybe it comes from a feeling we had during childhood, maybe a feeling of not being loved. Maybe it comes from a feeling of not being important enough and everyone always came before us on a scale of importance. Maybe it comes from the uncertainties we have about our own selves that we measure everyone by that same ruler. Or perhaps it is something much deeper than that.
I know I don't have the answers. All I know is that whatever the reasons are....sometimes, for some people the hurt is so deep from expectations falling short in others or themselves that it becomes a driven force in their lives. A force to protect oneself from continued hurt. A driven force to over compensate for the hurt. Is that a healthy thing to do? I'm not sure, all I do know we can't change others, if we could, (I for one) would most likely always question their motives and wonder if they were true. You see, I know myself....I'd still be looking back. Think about that one.

I have discovered more and more lately, that people are living their lives by a code of expectations. It festers in their relationships with family, coworkers, friends and strangers. It is a unspoken fact that this exist, and sometimes only a piece of this will show up in a conversation or a random act. Sometimes, it is hard not to say,"
stop, think about what you just said." Where did that thought come from......how can it be changed.

It is however, the things that have no expectations on them at all that become the sweet spots in life. Sadly, that usually does not involve humans or interactions with them.

Have you ever wondered why dogs live such easy lives? They have no expectations on their owners at all. They live their lives expectation free. In fact, no matter what the owner does, it is quickly forgotten and forgiven, and all is right with the world. I don't even think my own dogs expect me to even feed them, they just know it will be. They have no expectations of me getting up on time to do so, no expectations of me to get home from a shopping trip to do so, no expectation of me getting off the computer to do so, they just know it will be. And well, if I fall short and run a little late, all is forgotten and forgiven....I had no expectation put on me in the first place.

I say what a life....I wish more of us could live our lives like that....lose the expectations and hurt that seems to surface at inopportune times and enjoy life to the fullest. I find more and more that true life lessons come from my dogs not people I know.....think about that.

I had someone say to me the other day, (when I tried to talk about this very thing with them), that if someone has no expectations then they will get nothing out of life. Certainly, this is true in some things, but they did not get what I was really meaning....the unspoken expectations, the ones that will most likely never be met, the ones that cause the most grief and hurt....the one's that are the hardest to move forward from and seem to only keep us looking back. I never reached them, they did not get what I was saying. Maybe because I had no answers they wanted to hear.

Problem is, I don't have any answers, not ones that is universal to everyone...each person carries their own set of struggles, thoughts and motives and how do you say one thing is the cause for everyone? I certainly can not. All I can do is recognize that these types of expectations are unrealistic in every form, they will never measure up to your standards, they will never be met......and maybe just maybe....it is time to work on a new set of expectations or trying to live without them at all. Something to think about...actually for me, a lot to think about. I am not saying I have mastered this way of living...but I recognize I need to move in that direction.

Everyday is a life's lesson......take that knowledge or thought, make a change, life will be a little richer!
~The Coloradolady


  1. Hmmmn, a lot to contemplate. I think we all have expectations of others and ourselves. We are all just humans and we fail to meet those expectations. It is good I believe to set a goal to work towards for ourselves even though it may not be met in our lifetime. We can't set goals for others though and should be forgiving towards them when they don't do or say things that we think they should have. Especially, when we know we may have also disappointed them at some time too.

    Hope I haven't misunderstood what you were saying. This is just what I understood from reading your blog. Have a great day!

  2. Are you peeking in my windows??? WOW....you have really stopped me in my tracks this morning. Wow.

  3. Such a timely post!! Gives pause for a lot of thought and soul-searching. Thanks for opening the door to do so.

    Have a wonderful day.

  4. Hum definately a lot to digest for sure. You have made me pause and think that's for sure. :-)

  5. Suzanne,
    This really hit home with a situation in my life, I am going to reread this again....I think I understand what you said and it opened up a lot of thoughts! Thank you for this!

  6. Hmmm, a little deep. I think you are talking about doing some inner work. Well, dogs are wonderful and they don't have expectations, but my brother had a dog once that was abused by a man with a paper and everytime my brother was around the dog was scared... So people who have bigger brains and bigger memories are bound to have silent expectations and memories.

    The thing is this - if you can work through and get past these expectations - if you go through the pain and struggle - then when you come out to the other side - I think you're a better and stronger person.

    So did I miss the mark all together?


  7. My old shallow mind got lost after the first paragraph. I will start searching for a publisher. Someone that can write like this needs a book out. All I know for sure is you will make the "More from Blogher" again. Just remember, most of our lives are what we make it. Be strong.

  8. You certainly have written on a pretty deep topic here. It gives a lot to think about!

  9. In some ways, the older I get, the less I expect out of others. I probably take my husband for granted and he does me, but not in a bad way. He and I are a good fit and after all these years we ...dare I say it?....know what to expect from each other.

    With extended family and friends, I know who will always be on time, who will always offer to lend a helping hand, and who is caught up in something they aren't ready to reveal just yet which often closes them off to many. Are these expectations or acceptances?

    Others may have expectations of me that I am unaware of, and at the risk of sounding callous, that is their problem. I am good at fulfilling commitments, so I have no worries there, but if someone assumes I will do a certain thing or feel a certain way, they could be very mistaken.

    I don't like to disappoint people, but if I am not true to my own beliefs and feelings, I am disappointing myself and that can be a very hard thing to shake.

  10. Nice post, myself, I don't think I have many expectation from people anymore. This comes to me at the age of 65, I live a much freer life now. I am not sure how to put this feeling but it is much different than my early days, oh well you said it good. Like a dogs life, my Maggie.

  11. Its a tough one for sure. I think I often don't meet other peoples expectations. I'm a bit oblivious sometimes to how other folks think things should be.
    My (grown up) foster daughter is often disappointed because she has great expectations and reality doesn't measure up. Maybe I'll show her your post.

  12. Oh, Suzanne, *sigh*
    I feel your disappointment....and, probably at one time shock. The thing I think is that we only have expectations from people that we really trust with ourselves, and that, means the expectation has a bloodflow. When it is broken, we are afraid we will bleed to death......but, I found instead, the break, in truth, is a lifeline. Sort of when the umbilical chord is cut. You do not know how you will breath again, but you find you do.....And, more honestly. Because now you know, even the best relationships have the potential of great disappointment. Now, you must strive to do the right thing, knowing it might not be reciprocated in the way you would hope. Doing the right thing, afterall, is the right thing, regardless of the consequences, in all areas. You also will find, sometime down the road, a need to let go of your idea that you always fulfilled others expectations, also. It takes a long time to realize that we are all fallible and cannot replace what only God holds. In a way, now you are free to love because you don't do it depending on what you receive from it, you do it because it is right. If you knew me better, you would know I am the Queen of Disappointment........lol.


Sometimes someone says something really small, and it's like it fits into this empty space in your heart!

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts here, they really mean a lot to me!


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