Have you ever heard the saying “expectation is the root of all heartache.”? I’ve only started to really understand the meaning of this phrase within the past five years. Although I believe that expectation is the root of something, I don’t agree with it being heartache. That is a bit too dramatic, even for me. After all it was Shakespeare who said it, or so the internet says. He didn’t really say it, but it’s a modern interpretation of his words I guess.
I can however agree with the saying that expectation is the root of all disappointment. That one hits a little closer to home. I couldn’t fully grasp this notion until I started to take a good hard look at myself. But even now with a decent understanding of it I still get my expectations up and my hopes down. What I mean by that is I can still expect someone to act a certain way and when that expectation isn’t met my hopes get down. This usually happens most with the people that I love.
Just the other week I expected something from my boyfriend without explaining or telling him what I want. Then when he didn’t behave the way I wanted him to I was upset. I had to get my tires replaced and we had some time to kill so I suggested that we pop into a local book store. Meanwhile I had this whole movie montage in my head of what our experience would be like there. We would gallivant around the bookstore holding hands madly in love while looking through books together. Keith and I have been dating for almost 3 years and never once has this happened so I don’t know why I would even expect that, but I did.
Needless to say when we walked into the store Keith bee-lined it to the section of books that he was interested in. I literally had to chase him down. He was shockingly realistic when he said that we don’t like the same kinds of books and he was there to buy one. So naturally, I stomped off and found the meditation aisle, until he came looking for me.
I’m sitting here laughing to myself as I write this because it really is absurd that I got so upset. In the moment my feelings were valid and justified. I wanted a certain outcome but I also didn’t communicate that. How is it that we expect people to know what we’re thinking and feeling and to know what we want? That really is asking a lot of someone, don’t you think?
This is why communication and expression are key in any relationship. I am so very grateful that we have a love where we can openly and honestly talk about our feelings. There was a time when I wouldn’t have been comfortable expressing my point of view, or remain open to understanding his.
Like many aspects of my life I will continue to practice and grow in this particular area. Remaining present in each moment can help me to realize when I am placing unrealistic expectations on someone.
Is this something that you do also? Do you put unrealistic expectations on a person and get disappointed when they don’t deliver? Let’s practice and grow together. Remain present, catch your thoughts and actions. If you notice that they require someone to be a mind reader, try communicating what you want in a healthy way. Let’s be fair to other people, especially the people we love.
Comment below if you can relate to what I’ve shared here. Please let me know if you have other suggestions on how to combat disappointment in failed expectations.