How often have you set yourself up for a big disappointment by counting on an experience or a situation to be a certain way? I hear about people doing this all the time. You want flowers, but they have to be red roses, so if you get daisies, they don’t count. You anticipate a fabulous weekend having fun in the sun, then when it rains, all your plans literally get soaked, and you’re miserable. You get married expecting unending romance and bliss, then when the reality of arguments and differences sets in, you’re headed for divorce court. The problem is your expectations!
Research studies have shown that unrealistically high expectations of ourselves result in lower success rates with goals, and lowered feelings of satisfaction – that people set themselves up for “failure” with inflated notions of “success.” The dieting industry is a perfect testimony to this.
When our son was just a teeny tadpole I used to get all excited by the prospect of going on adventures with him. I’d research, plan, pack, and expect glorious things. I was a “stay-at-home mother,” so one of the benefits was time to do lots of fun stuff, NOT at home. The complication was that he had severe asthma attacks which would require immediate medical attention, sometime in the form of a trip to the local emergency room. So much for my elaborate plans……
Ironically, the day I decided to lower my expectations, was the day that my parenting experience began to really get wonderful and interesting. I adopted the attitude that maybe we’d go with the plan, maybe not, but something else would emerge, perhaps better in some way. It helped me relax and be “in the moment,” as they say, even if that moment was in the ER, or heaven forbid, staying at home.
Moral of the story? Lower your expectations regarding “ideal outcomes,” and watch your happiness level go way up!
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