You should have, he could have, they did not do this, that’s the least she could have done. A constant mental chatter continues in our heads; we ALL have expectations. The more we expect, the more we are at risk of being disappointed.
Expectations creates a lot of conflict in relationships. We all play different roles in life and nurture expectations in each of these roles – as parents, children, siblings, extended family, friends etc. We expect others to “be our way”. Inevitably this does not happen, making us frustrated and discontent.
We expect others to see our viewpoint and perspective and act accordingly. These unmet expectations turn into disappointments. Over a period of time, these turn into grudges, which are really harmful for our mental well-being. We tend to remain in a continuous state of anger and resentment, while holding onto a grudge. Hence, its common to see close family members holding grudges, as their expectations got dashed.
Why does this happen? We have structured our belief system to create a reality of everything happening our way! The emotion becomes so strong and gives birth to thoughts. These turn into high emotional expectations which are bound to be unfulfilled.
Let’s examine the root cause of these feelings. As we go deeper, we realize that we are the creators of these expectations. They are based on hope for a future outcome or just what people have said or we thought they meant. Once we are conscious that we are responsible for this creation, we can constructively use it to improve our rapport with everyone.
How do we change our mindset, to avoid hurt and nursing grudges? “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a universal phrase for risk free investment advice. We can use this wisdom in our daily lives. We imbibe the principle of balance, of maintaining a good rapport with our children, spouses and close friends while keeping expectations as low as possible. Thus, we have a backup plan, and we do not invest all our emotions in one place. We have diversified our focus as we do with our investments. Now you have an understanding that if situations don’t work out in the way you may have envisioned, it’s easier to accept it with grace. Simple incidents will not get complicated if we do this mental check every time. Instead of waiting on the spouse to plan your birthday vacation, take the initiative to do it yourself. The idea is to have a good vacation, instead of getting stuck on the thought that who should be making the effort. Once we are clear that we want to have a good experience, we will never feel frustrated.
The rule can be applied to all aspects of life. This way we can indulge in any activity with no preconceived notion of the outcome or the experience. If Plan A does not work, we use Plan B and consider the transition as a learning experience, instead of wallowing in self-pity and ignorance.
The golden rule is to never allow it to seep into your feelings which eventually become grudges. Use your intelligence as a gauge to measure the disappointment and take the responsibility for your expectations and the final result. This will inspire gratitude and harmony in all relationships.
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