Sunday, June 8, 2014

Great Expectations

We have all experienced it. You get all excited about something…and then it is nothing like you expected. In fact, expectations are at the root of nearly all of our disappointments in life. College, new job, vacation, marriage, owning a boat; these are all destined to fall short of our expectations.

The simple solution would be to just lower our expectations on everything so that we are never disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised. Our common metaphor for this lifestyle is “a glass half empty” kind of person. No one wants that label. We want to be seen as optimistic, can do, glass half full kind of people. Studies have shown that an optimistic outlook can improve your health and help you live longer. That is a pretty compelling argument for having great expectations.

So are we destined to live out our days always expecting things to be better than they are and constantly being disappointed? I say nay nay! The more mature solution is to use the wisdom that we have gained to temper our expectations. Take that trip to Disneyland with your three kids. You will make lifelong memories. You do need, however, to accept the fact that at certain times during the day, it will NOT be the happiest place on earth. You do not have to go looking for disappointment, but you also do not have to be surprised by it. This is called adjusting your expectations. There’s no need to lower the expectations, but you can relax them a little to allow for detours.

Keep in mind too that we often have expectations of horrible things happening to us, and they turn out to be nowhere near as bad as we expected. This expectation thing cuts both ways. So what kind of day are you expecting tomorrow?

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