Thursday, September 10, 2009

Managing Expectations

Tonight I had an expectation to spend some quality time with my boyfriend. I'd played out the scene in my mind - we'd have dinner, watch some good 'quality' t.v., chat a bit..... and enjoy each others company. I had deliberately mapped my day so I could be available for this time (fantasy in my mind). And, I had an expectation that he was doing the same. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how I look at it, he didn't map his day in quite the same way and was unavailable for the evening. My initial reaction was of frustration and anger.... mixed in with a lot of disappointment. And, the manifestation of that was being short and curt with him, eager to get off the phone so I could go vent elsewhere.

Thank GOD for girlfriends and gyms - both great places to vent and release energy! It's amazing what talking about a situation will do for me, particularly when I have strong feelings about it. As I'm describing the situation to someone else, such as this one, I begin to see what my truth is under the feelings I'm experiencing .... which, at the time feel like a ball of fire imploding. The truth in this case was that I was sad. With my unmet expectation/s I see that the first place I go emotionally (and this is true in many other cases as well, not just with my boyfriend) is to take it personally. And often, I don't even recognize that's what I've done. I make up that whatever it was that I expected to happen didn't because of something having to do with me. Mostly that's WRONG. Nine out of ten times the reason my expectation wasn't met is because of a choice the other person has made having little or nothing to do with me.

So, I ask how does one (ME!) manage expectations? How do I roll with the punches no matter what life (or my boyfriend) tosses my way? And most important, how do I continue loving with all my heart and soul in the midst of disappointment when every bone in my body wants to lash out?

In this moment the only answer I have for myself is 1. to trust that EVERYTHING happens for a reason (i.e. tonight would be a wonderful night to go to bed early to feel refreshed for my week which would most likely NOT happen if I were to visit with my boyfriend) and 2. communication (i.e. rather than harbor a resentment I believe it would be best to communicate my feelings after they've been processed a bit to share my feelings and thoughts in a 'civilized' manner) Perhaps there are other ways to 'deal' with unmet expectations but I think trust and communication are a great start.

What I know and am realizing more now is that sometimes unmet expectations are really a blessing in disguise. When things don't go a certain way, the aspect that causes me the most grief is that I've held onto how it was 'supposed' to look.... and, unfortunately, when I look long enough at how a thing or person is not what it is or was 'supposed' to be, I've missed the gift of seeing how that thing or person did show up. So, for tonight, my gifts are that my boyfriend was honest with me, that I have more time to write (which I love!) and that I will be in bed early (which I love even more!).

Here's to a great week ahead .... not that I have any expectations!



  1. So insightful! I needed to hear all of that so much! Awesome Nikki!


  2. Thanks Nikki, I've found that when I expect something from someone it's because I have 't discussed it with them because if I had then it would be an agreement not an expectation. I've also discovered when I have an expectation it's usually fear of asking for what I need because I won't get it or I'll be disapointed. I guess it's all fear based. Oh well, like an elder I once met told me "keep on living honey"!