“We can only be disappointed by our expectations.” This is one of many things I have learned from one of my mentors. Over time, I have found this to be accurate beyond belief.
There are so many things to be disappointed by in this life. We can even create things and anticipate disappointment, assuming that things will not work out. But there is a more positive way to perceive our experiences and maintain our hope. We have to start by being reasonable with our expectations, continuing to have high goals and standards, but be realistic about the possible outcomes.
People tend to disappoint us the most. Someone says something and doesn’t follow through. We are told that we can trust someone, and they lie or deceive us in some way. We think that we know someone, and they turn out to be a stranger. Then there is always the person who reacts to something in a much different way than we expected, leaving us disappointed that we ever believed in their support.
Here is the secret…people will always disappoint…why?…because we are imperfect human beings who make mistakes.
Sometimes these mistakes are more intentional, and other times they are unavoidable. However, if we start out with our expectations being reasonable by understanding this, then we can practice some compassion and patience when people disappoint us. Yes, I said when they disappoint, not if. You are guaranteed to be disappointed by someone in your lifetime. This is not to say that we should let people walk all over us, no, not at all. I am talking about those disappointments that are of just part of living, being, and interacting with others, not those where someone deliberately stomps on your emotions time and again.
Circumstances disappoint us as well. Things aren’t working out as planned. You’ve applied for job after job with no return calls. You think that you should be “further along” in life than you are currently. Medical reports return unfavorable. A car accident changes the course of your life. Money is tight.
The list could go on and on. It is important to understand that life is full of seasons and circumstances that are not within our control.
Our expectations must be in alignment with this fact. Even the most well-intentioned plan may fall apart at the seams, at one point or another. Life happens when we just want to keep living. Things change around us when we want them to stay the same. Do yourself a favor, start thinking and believing that you do not have control over these random situations. So, do not set your expectations that you do have full control. Then when things go wrong, you won’t necessarily lose your hope. Of course you may still feel some disappointment when things aren’t going “right”, but the emotional agony can be lessened if we accept that our expectations cannot be the opposite of reality.
We also cannot be afraid of disappointment, by behaving like we are standing in concrete. Live your life! Do the best that you can to live out your dreams and goals! Love people and trust them! Begin to do new and creative things in your life, even while afraid!
Do not allow disappointment to be a source of intimidation to you, because, guess what?
Just like we can only be disappointed by our expectations, we can also be disappointed by not having any expectations. Then we are just bystanders, watching our lives go by…..