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How to Reframe Expectations: Who Controls Who?

Not only am I behind on getting this post out, but it took me far longer to write than any other. While trying to write, I was battling to meet my own expectations of this post.

Hence why it’s late.

Then I sat down and used my own concepts to examine my own expectations, and low and behold, resolved and on my way. Let me share with you what I’ve learned.

Here’s the Deal

Expectations are a fact of life. I’d go so far as to call them inherent. When you are born, you expect to be cared for. We go to sleep expecting to wake up in the morning. When we do something naughty we expect to get into trouble. We can’t avoid having expectations any more than we can avoid having them broken.

In and of themselves, expectations are not a bad thing. Where we run into trouble, as human beings, is processing the deluge of emotions that arise when expectations are not met.

What we’re really talking about is reframing our own perception in the moment.

S*&$ Happens

That’s life, right? Things are not always going to go to plan. You aren’t always going to get what you want.

Don’t let that stop you.

The world isn’t always sunshine and unicorns. Children start off with the expectation that their parents love each other and us, and will always be there to care for us. It’s a common one for sure.

I know from experience that even what we consider to be the most basic expectations can go unmet. So where does that leave you? With the responsibility of managing the fallout.

Expectation Fallout

What happens when we don’t get what we expect? Well, a lot of things can happen: Cry, Rage, Yell, Scream, Break things.

I ask you… does responding emotionally help? Maybe in the moment, though not long term.

Take a minute, slow down your thoughts, and review the situation with these three things in mind:

The only thing you can control is your response

People will do and say as they want to, regardless of your efforts. We may be able to impact others, though free will gives them the right to act as they please.

You can lower your expectations

Just because we have them, doesn’t mean we can’t adjust the volume a little. While I want to believe it’s reasonable to expect others to work at the speed I do, logically that won’t work. On the flip side, just because someone else can run a marathon tomorrow, doesn’t mean I can. Remember that individuals will respond individually.

You can choose not to have any

Easier said than done but worthwhile to adopt. I run my expectations through a checklist. If the expectation I’m placing on something isn’t reasonable, attainable, or effective, I throw it out the window.

When All Else Fails

Let it go. I can’t stop heartbreaking from happening to you, but I want you to know that you can let it go. You can’t let it sit and fester. That’s like shaking up a bottle of Coke and hoping it doesn’t explode. Take the time you need to feel and process those feelings.

Fact is, in your life, you come first.

Stop talking to the people who constantly let you down.

Don’t place unreasonable expectations on yourself and others.

Start practicing mindfulness, breathing, and the act of acceptance.

Take care of your needs, be compassionate of others, and live your life. Don’t let expectations slow you down.

PS: Make sure to sign up for our email list below too, and I’ll send you the rest of this series as they drop!)
PPS: In case you missed them, here are the previous pieces in this series!
How to Reframe Failure: You Can’t Fail if you Don’t Quit.
How to Reframe Fear; Are You Scared or Just Unsure?
How to Reframe Success; It’s Not Them, It’s You
How to Reframe Perfection: Fiction Not Fact
How to Reframe Wealth: 3 Pillars of True Wealth
How to Reframe Time: I’ve got 99 Problems but Time Isn’t One
How to Reframe the Holidays: Why Celebration Should be Mandatory
How to Reframe Self-Worth: Stop, Drop and Roll

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