These two words have preyed upon my thoughts lately and I’ve been weighing the pros and cons.
It is said that lowering one’s expectations leads to more happiness and compassion. But for whom? For the one whose expectations are lowered or the one who does not live up to someone’s expectations…or even their own? One online expert said, “We’re happier to accept other people’s difficult behaviors when we expect less from them.” Hmmm, I’m not so sure.
What actually is an expectation? One dictionary’s interpretation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. For me it was adding the word wonderful to that something.
I have lived my life with this premise and nearly always had my expectations met, making it difficult to lower my expectations of anything or anyone. It would be like giving up hope.
The pros for lessening expectations seem to dictate that if you don’t expect the best from people or life you won’t be disappointed when the best fails to materialize.
On the other hand, the cons, at least for me, would be giving in to the feeling of apathy that accompanies losing hope and I can’t do that.
In many cases in my life, it was someone else’s high expectation of me that brought me through eighty-one years of fairly successful living.
When we were children, we expected our parents would always be there for us; we expected hugs when we needed them and scoldings when they were needed as well. We expected to be fed, clothed, counseled, nurtured, and sent out into the world to in turn, one day expect to do these things for others. As life goes on expectations change…not because they are lowered, but perhaps because we fail to see what is expected of us.
So, I think instead of lowering my expectations I will instead extend the time frame of what I expect to when I expect it.
That way I still have hope.