Feb 132013

Have you ever looked forward to something? Maybe you planned a birthday party in which you had great ideas. You spent time day dreaming. You planned the details. And sadly, the party did not go according to plan. Were you disappointed and not able to enjoy the activities?

I’ve experienced that kind of disappointment.

Or have you are looked forward to a particular stage of life?  Perhaps marriage or having children. You daydreamed about the wedding day and how perfect it would be. And naturally your marriage would be just as perfect.

You visualize your perfect future well-behaved children.

But reality hits and you realize marriage is hard work. Having children can be a challenge. Perhaps your life isn’t turning out how you expected.

This happened to me.

Coming from a home with a single mom, I had no real life example of what married life should look like. Without even realizing it, I had created an idealized idea of marriage.

I did the same with parenting. I fantasized about going to a coffee shop with my sweet baby who would quietly rest while I read a book and sipped a latte (HA!). My child would obey and never be like “that” noisy child in the grocery store (HA!).

Fast forward and I am 25 years with a colicky, strong-willed baby. I am in a marriage heading down a bumpy road.

Life had not lived up to my expectations. Plain and simple, I was not happy. Life was a lot harder than I had planned.

I feel blessed to say that my marriage is now stronger because of the bumpy road. My strong-willed baby girl has turned into a beautiful, smart, (still 🙂 strong-willed) 11 year-old.

I learned a great deal from the above experiences and how expectations have an impact on life.

Expectations greatly influence:

  • our perceptions
  • our feelings and emotions
  • our state of mind

Sometimes without even realizing it, we set high expectations for an event, another person or a particular stage of life. Often reality does not live up to our expectations.  If our expectations are not met, disappointment, frustration, sadness, and/or anger can ensue.

The bummer is we miss out on what could have been a blessing.

Our expectations can rob us of joy, if we allow them to. If the party doesn’t go as planned, if a friend disappoints us, or if our life stages are different than anticipated.

Having expectations is not inherently bad. However, it is important to learn to be flexible and not allow them to control our feelings and emotions.

Learning to keep your expectations in check:

1) When you find yourself frustrated or disappointed, ask yourself, “What were my expectations in this situation, relationship or life stage?”

2) Learn to be flexible. Go ahead with the daydreaming about life but be willing to accept change. If something changes or goes wrong, go with it and enjoy the moment.

3) Be fair to yourself and others. Do not set your expectations so high that no one (including you) can live up to them.

How have your expectations been influencing your peace of mind? 



© 2012 Standing on Peace