Definition of expectations: you are expected to show up to work dressed, not naked.
Let’s look at this analogy for what it is, without any hidden connotations. This is a simple outcome that is considered an appropriate action within society.
I personally have a love-hate relationship with this term. Known as the number one initiator to stress, this term has an even more comprehensive level of misunderstanding and destruction attached to it.
Many of us are motivated by expectations- only when I’m expected to hand in the report at a certain deadline will my creative juices start flowing. But there’s a flip side- the expectation from my partner to just know how I’m feeling and if they can’t figure it out, there’s a disappointment.
They say that it’s good to have expectations, that when we place an expectation upon another, we’re making the connection deeper. It is the entry point of a conversation, a commitment, a dialogue about what each person in the relationship requires, a starting point for change- in any scenario.
But then we start believing that only once these expectations are fulfilled will it bring us happiness, we begin to put all this pressure on it. Expectations then get viewed as ‘unvolunteered’ agreements.
There’s one thing to have certain expectations from a work environment, you’re being paid and so you must deliver. Then there’s another kind that one has from themselves. And then there’s the scary kind- the one we have from others.
Why is it that we attach so much importance to the term? Why do we expect so much from expectations? And what happens when our expectations aren’t met?
Expectations are born from a very simple, innocent space in our minds, when we expect, we don’t think of it not being met. Then life happens, someone or we ourselves let us down, our innocent hearts filled with hope break.
This “let down” creates a gap in our mind, almost like a disconnect, we feel betrayed, misunderstood, hurt. Stress and anxiety creep in. We begin to place blame and start looking for faults, where to begin with wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility.
Now, there are two scenarios here, one that we are sensitive people, and the second they are not sensitive people. I could state that we’re all built differently, we’re all on our own journey, learning our lessons at our own time. Comprehending this takes a level of maturity that we sometimes want to forget, we want what we want, when we want, and from whom we want. And logic fails us as emotions take over.
But, knowing each of these potential case scenarios, and more importantly, how to avoid them, is a life skill that can serve us well. Once we being to recognize them, it’s surprising how often throughout our day expectations are at play. I guess what I’m trying to say is- we should manage our expectations and not put so many unspoken responsibilities upon anyone.