Living up to expectations, how do we do it? How do we know what the expectations are for us? Are they taught, are we told, do we learn by example?
Many of our expectations stem from societal norms. At the theatre you are expected to be quiet and not chit chat during the performance or movie. At work you are expected to put business first and personal stays outside the door. As a child you are expected to behave when company comes over or when out in public. As a teenager/young adult you are expected to act as such if you want to be taken seriously. Even as a significant other you are expected to behave in a specific way.
In all reality though, how many of us live up to those expectations? In all reality, how many of us have created expectations that we can not even rise up to?
One of the oldest and long living expectations is that of the expectations in a relationship. Many fall pray to what I will describe, and if you already know what I mean from the previous sentence skip ahead. In many many relationships it is often a point of view of one partner or the other that they should not need to explain or communicate what they want or need. It is expected that the other partner just knows! I would really love to know how as a society we fell into this because I have gotten stuck, and continue to do so, many times over. I blame the romantic movies I love so much.
What about the expectation of someone’s character? What about the expectations you have for your sibling? As the oldest sibling I often felt like I had to be the care taker if my parents were go. I had to be the best example I could for my sister and not falter. I expected myself to be the smartest and best I could be. What happened is she ended up being much smarter then I am. She got a better job then I did, and I still beat myself up about. it. But whose fault is it, my won? It’s my own fault because I have set those expectations upon myself of what defines my failure.
We can anticipate that as humans we expect someone to be kind and be a “decent” human being, that definition may depend on the person who has that expectation. We also can anticipate that when out to eat we each have an expectation, depending on the business of the restaurant, how long it takes for our food to be ready. We even can anticipate that we can expect to sit in rush hour traffic at 5pm on a Friday evening.
Simply put, every single one of us has expectations. What of those expectations however can we let go of? It is hard work to first of all even recognize that ourselves or someone else “did wrong” simply because we had an expectation set. This expectation may have been known or unknown to us, regardless we set one and because it wasn’t met you are left feeling mad, angry, frustrated, sad and/or disappointed.
Expectations are a reality, they are a tough reality but they are there. The best we can do is try and voice when we have expectations and understand if we are setting ourselves or anyone else up for failure.