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Expectations are resentments waiting to happen

I wrote about expectations and resentments on Google+ back in late December, and after someone +1’d it today and reminded me about it, I thought I’d put it in here as well. With a few edits to improve it, of course.

When we have expectations about people and situations, we invariably end up disappointed by them, and when it’s a friend or family member who’s disappointing us, we can often end up resentful of them for not meeting our expectations.

Some scenarios:

“I expect you to clean the house the way I like it. But since you did it in a way I didn’t expect – or you didn’t do it at all even though I expected you to – then I’m resentful. No, I’m downright angry!”

“I expect there to be a particular style or taste of food at this restaurant, and if they don’t appease my taste buds today, which change according to my mood, I’ll let them know it! I pay them good money to serve me food that I’ll like, and if they don’t meet my expectations, it’s THEIR fault! I might even sue them for it….”

“I expect you to behave a particular way because you’re my spouse / parent / child / friend (take your pick), and since you don’t act as I expect you to act, I’m going to be angry with you.”

“It’s my birthday. I expect an expensive gift. Wait… what’s this? This isn’t an expensive gift! I’m so angry!” (Alternatively: “I expect a gift. Wait, what’s this? A card? Where’s my gift? I’m so angry!”)

Most of our anger and resentment of others come from unmet expectations. We place people into categories and assign them expectations associated with the category.

For example, we expect different things from our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends, our workmates…. When they do things that don’t match our expectations, we get angry at them for disappointing us. For not thinking about us. For not caring about us. For disrespecting us.

All because they’re not doing what we expect of them.

Life can be so much simpler and happier if we give up our expectations about people and situations and just be grateful for the good things we have in our life.

In the context of the scenarios mentioned above, we could instead be grateful that our loved one did their best to clean the house. We could be grateful that we can afford to go out for dinner and enjoy a good meal. We can be grateful that we have loved ones in our life and we’re not alone. We can be grateful that someone cared about us to get us any kind of gift, or even a card.

When you’re resentful at people for not meeting your expectations, you will end up making them not want to be around you any more. You create drama in your life and amongst the people you mix with. You create anger and resentment. You can even create illness that results from your physical and emotional stress. Dis-ease can often be fixed by bringing back the ease in your life.

Now is a good time to start making really positive and significant changes in our lives, and it starts with letting go of expectations.

Thanks for reading! Please add your own thoughts below.

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