Expectations….

Oh my dear blog… how I have missed having / taking the time to write.  Well, this week was Valentine’s Day.  There are probably three types of people 1. indifferent on celebrating but okay with that, 2. those that absolutely love it, and 3. those that absolutely hate it.   Actually, that summarizes it for most holidays.  Mother’s Day for me, for instance, is always bittersweet.  My mother and grandmother are both in heaven, and I remember the year after our miscarriage and all the years of infertility that I yearned for a child, but God had other timing.

Anyway, about Valentine’s Day… I generally am indifferent.  When the kids were in school and we had to send out Valentines, Mary and I always made homemade Valentines.  With Samuel, he seemed to like parties, but having to write the name of all the children and sign his name on 30 valentines were a little over-rated for him.  I had thought about getting the kids something this year, but my intentions never made it into an action (something I really need to work on, by the way).  Jim and I never get each other anything.  I use to buy or write him a card, but then realized that was never his “love language”.  Our first year of marriage he sent me flowers to work and well, I yelled at him when I found out how much they cost. STUPID ME!  Those were the last flowers I received.  I stole the blessing of his giving by being critical.  In hindsight, the words should have been Thank you and I love you!    So, for 20 years, I have not received flowers, BUT have honestly not been disappointed (a little more on disappointment in a minute).  And then this year, I received a package to me and I literally got goosebumps.  Enclosed were a dozen of beautiful roses from my awesome husband.  I was NOT expecting them and was speechless.  Sort of like the diamond wrap I got for Christmas that I was not expecting.  At first, I felt a little guilty because I had not gotten him anything.  However, that would have taken away from his gift and knew he expected nothing in return.

About disappointment – in the dictionary disappoint means to

Disappoint: fail to meet the expectations, hopes, desires, or standards of; let down

One of my biggest life changing attitudes / mottos is to EXPECT NOTHING AND THEN I’M NOT DISAPPOINTED!   It is one thing I have intentionally worked on (before I ever chose the word intentional).  This has been to my benefit many times in life, and I probably learned it more with each circumstance.  Some common examples,

  • I don’t expect any gifts for holidays or birthdays and am not disappointed when I don’t get them — but when I do, it makes the joy that much greater.
  • I don’t expect people to change their ways, but change my expectation and then I don’t boil over every time I think of them.
  • I don’t expect the garbage to be emptied anymore when overflowing, and now I don’t get upset and yell – but when someone does empty it, I am so excited.
  • I don’t expect to get an IRS refund anymore after generally having to pay in, so if it ever happens, I will be so excited.  Had I expected to get a refund and didn’t (and already had it spent on a new item) I would be devastated.
  • I don’t expect when I come home after a long weekend of work that the house will be spotless, and then I am not upset.
  • I don’t expect when I step on the scale that I have lost any weight – for      years I did that and felt so sad – and now if I do, I am just super happy.

When I use to expect things of people and they didn’t meet the expectations, it controlled my happiness.  It made me yell or bottle it all inside becoming ready to explode.

However, what often happens, I am learning is that with expectations, there MUST be communication.  For instance, if my expectation is that the garbage is emptied, I better tell them.  Too many times, people expect other people to do something, but never verbalize that expectation.  Much of that I learned comes down to love languages, and I know I refer to this often, but it is so true.  If I am a gift person and I want to be shown love by gifts, I better tell my husband.  If I don’t tell him and he doesn’t give me a gift – it is my fault because I never told him my expectation.  For instance, when we started dating I told Jim, “I will live in Markleysburg all my life and I will graduate from college with my maiden name.  If you are not okay with either of those things, we don’t need to continue the relationship.”  Well, that was 25 years ago and we live in Markleysburg (although I would probably be more willing to move now) and my college diploma has Knight on it.  It would not have been fair for me to not disclose that, or my expectations to have children, etc.

Probably, one of my biggest irritations in my professional life was when I sat down for a performance review and was told I did not meet deadlines.  Of note, I have never missed a deadline in my life.  I asked for clarification, and apparently, the person’s standard was that items were in 5 days prior to the deadline.  However, in my world, if it is due on Tuesday, you will likely get Monday night or 3am on Tuesday morning, and I would still consider it early because Tuesday could be interpreted at the close of business day.  She was disappointed in me, because I did not know her expectation was 5 days prior.

My problem still lies in my fear of disappointing others and myself. Here are some examples

  • At  first, I thought Jim may be disappointed because I didn’t get him anything and he got me beautiful roses.  Or at Christmas, he gave diamonds and his gifts were much smaller. I was      disappointed in myself that I had not done more.
  • There are often areas that I could use some help, but I won’t ask for it, because of fear that I may disappoint others that I can’t handle it myself or why I needed help.
  • I avoid being completely honest about situations, because I don’t want to disappoint people with my decisions I made.
  • So many times, I over commit to other people, because I don’t want them to be disappointed in me.

Oh, the list of how I disappoint myself and fear of disappointing others could go on.

I need to be more intentional of asking people their expectations of me.  What does my husband expect for me as his wife… my children expect of me as their mom… learning what Christ expects of me as his child….  Because, I truly do love them and want to meet their expectation (and even exceed their expectations).  And on the other side, if you are expecting something of me, just let me know.

But more importantly, I need to be INTENTIONAL about knowing MY expectations, hopes, and desires of MYSELF, and that requires taking the time to figure that out.

Happiness equals reality minus expectations” – Tom Magliozzi

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One thought on “Expectations….

  1. dawnberkshire February 18, 2013 at 11:10 am Reply

    Thanks sheri fir you insight! I do the same as you and try not to expect things. I know when I worked closer with doctors and clinics at another hospital, I didn’t expected my customers to be couteous or kind in thier requests. Then when they were nice I was elated! Dawn

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