We are very sensible especially about the things that matters for us. Because of this, we can be easily influenced. But guess what? The biggest influence comes from within, to be more precise, from our expectations. I approached this topic a year ago, but I still find it fresh and with a huge importance (the original post can be found here).
Wondering about how and why our feelings are changed, I bumped into another potential reason. Expectations are the ones that bring us down when they are not met and they also bring a little joy into our lives when everything happens as we predicted. Is this a good or a bad thing?
Of course, this is debatable. It might be a good thing because we are not caught off guard when things happen as we expected, but this also neutralizes the amount of feelings we get and if it is a great thing, we don’t feel as good as we should so this makes it a bad thing as well. We set our expectations based on our own thoughts and feelings and this might not be the best thing to do because the others have their own thoughts and feelings. When we expect someone to act in a certain way, we might be wrong and this will bring to us all sorts of feelings. If it’s a good outcome, we’ll feel great, but if it’s a bad one, we’ll feel much worse than without expectations. This happens because we have a double shock. The first one is for our expectations not be fulfilled and the second one is for the bad outcome. If we wouldn’t have those expectations in place, we would’ve been feeling better.
Having expectations kills all the joy in a good situation if everything goes as we planned because we had time to accommodate with that good outcome and when it really happens, it’s nothing new to us. If our expectations are not met, we feel bad because we were prepared for something to happen and we lived it in our heads multiple times. If reality is different, we feel as fools because we have to eliminate all the good feelings we had because of our hypothetical outcome and we have to deal with the feelings that come from the real outcome.
IF we can’t eliminate our expectations, we should lower them so the impact won’t be that big. We have to try to live in the present, otherwise we’ll never really live. Instead, we’ll be chasing future feelings and situations that would make us feel good, and the problem with this is that we’re feeling those good feelings every time we think about those situations and when we really get there, we’ll be feeling almost nothing.
We should have great goals to aim to, but we shouldn’t expect to get there. Instead, we should be working as hard as we can to get there and we should enjoy the ride, not the goal.
How often do your expectations turn out to be wrong? Does it worth having them in the first place? Why or why not?