Managing Personal Expectations

Let’s face it. We are all guilty of this. We expect situations to happen a certain way. We expect people to behave a certain way. We also expect people to treat us a certain way. When our expectations are not meet, we feel disappointed. We all have expectations in our personal and professional lives.

Is it wrong to have expectations of others? Only if it’s set to high. Here are the warning signs:

• Things not done when and how you want it sends you over the edge

• You obsess over the little things

• Other people refer to you as a perfectionist

• Other people are just not good enough for you

• You constantly feel other people let you down

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If you exhibit any of the above feelings, time to stop and do a little self-adjustment. If you do not take any measures to control these symptoms, you will end up resenting other people. Resentment is an ugly concoction of human emotions that includes disappointment, anger, disgust, and fear. They could increase your stress level and eventually lead you to depression.

If you have high expectations of others and are wondering why you feel that way, the answer lies in your past. Did your parents have high expectations of you? Were you in close proximity to people who threw tantrums when they did not get things their way? They may have influenced your behaviour.

Managing expectations takes discipline, effort, and patience. You will first need to identify your expectations. Then you need to take it apart, scrutinize it and develop an alternative behaviour. For example, if you get upset that your partner doesn’t do the laundry when it’s piled up, ask yourself, “Why can’t I do it?”. Don’t allow your mind to focus on what others don’t do for you. Redirect it to what they do instead. When you’ve graduated from this exercise, you can now move on to predict what other people expect of you, validate, and act on it.

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