Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Expectations Are Premeditated Resentments
Examining my expectations and then letting go of any that weren't reality based was the first step in removing a lot of stress from my life. I was never satisfied. I always felt that things weren't up to par, that I was settling for less, that I deserved better but my unique specialness was going unrecognized. I sabotaged perfectly good relationships once the honeymoon glow wore off because I had this crazy idea that True Love (tm) always meant feeling madly infatuated every day for the remainder of your days. I thought happiness meant feeling constantly on top of the world.
Nothing ever measured up. At size 6, with my abs showing, a flat belly and a breast lift, working out religiously six days a week, I still thought I was fat.
I published a book, a short story, interviews, articles, and I still thought I was unappreciated and undiscovered as a writer.
I'd receive student evaluations at work, and everybody in my classes would have great things to say about me, except for one student who had a problem. I would obsess over that one student.
My own expectations made me continually resentful and feeling shortchanged by life.
One thing we often did in rehab was to go around the table and announce something we could be grateful for that day. Hokey, I know. But if you do it enough times, the message starts to sink in. Way more things are right than wrong. Count your blessings. Relish them. Learn to be content.
Now, nothing is wrong with expectations as long as you keep them realistic and are aware you are harboring them. Me, I've learned to do a subtle shift that has made a lot of difference: turn expectations into hopes. That way I'm not dashed if they don't come to fruition.
It has done wonders for my peace of mind and for my ability to accept things--and even to appreciate them--just the way they are.