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169 Managing Expectations

by Claudine Sweeney
February 23rd 2023

We all have expectations. Expectations of ourselves and of others and, if they go unmet, we are left feeling disappointed or frustrated. Do expectations really serve us well in our lives? Are they ... More

You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Hello my friends, Oh my gosh, I'm so excited for another episode today. Uh Today we are talking about something that is so crucial for our own well being for our relationships and that is expectations. I know we've all heard the word, We all have our own set of expectations. We have others, even in our own relationships have expectations of us whether we might meet them or not. And we have expectations of others as well as ourselves and expectations can be a helpful tool, but we also have to be very, very careful.

Um I wanted to really dive into this topic of expectations because I've been listening to this podcast and they had this quote of this therapist on there. He said expectations are premeditated resentments and I loved how he worded that I thought, oh my gosh, we need to do a topic on expectations because I know for myself personally whether their expectations I have of myself can cause a lot of anxiety and stress and can even lead to depression if not managed well and as well as expectations, others are kids, our spouse, our friends, you know what I mean? And so expectations is really woven into all of life, all of the, you know, Facets of life and our relationships and so it's really important because I think we can think, well, expectations are good, right? It's good to have expectations, but it can be dangerous when they're not realistic. And maybe they're causing resentments in our relationships.

Maybe they're causing us, you know, our expectations on ourselves to make us feel kind of guilty or shamed. And if we're not careful, it can really be detrimental to our relationships and our well being absolutely well Every day at work at home and our relationships like you said, even on vacation, we deal with expectations and which is funny because on January one I don't do new year's resolutions anymore. But this year I decided I was going to release expectations. I haven't even shared this with you. So instead of making a news resolution, I decided that I was going to go into 2023 release all expectations, expectations of others and expectations of circumstance and I kid you not were like three weeks in and we left mid january for a month. We were in Mexico for a month and I kid you not one weekend, I got sick, which I never, I've never had a stomach bug in my 34 years of going to Mexico and this time I got it and I was so frustrated and so irritated and I realized, Oh my gosh, I had an expectation of being healthy.

Who doesn't on vacation, right? You go out of town and you expect to be healthy. And I thought, oh, this is interesting. And then we had another situation happened with our Children, our adult Children were with us for one of the weeks and there was some sibling rivalry and some sibling tensions and I remember going to bed that night being so frustrated thinking, well this is not how this was supposed to go. So I reflected the next morning I woke up and reflected, isn't that funny? I gave up expectations for the year and I thought it was gonna, you know, help me so much and right within in six weeks I was hit twice with, oh, I still have expectations, right? Like I still have them. Like even if we release them and we try to let them go, we still have them. And what happens is if we have unmet expectations, it can lead to disappointment and anger and other disruptive feelings. And so that was what had happened.

I had some disruptive feelings. I was feeling irritated by being sick. I've been disappointed by the sibling rivalries all of that. But expectations are beliefs we have about how something or someone should behave or how something will be in the future. So like you said, we all have them and we get attached to them, right? We become attached to our expectations Unknowingly like I was, I'm like I have released them all. I'm going to 2023 wide eyed and bushy tailed like a small child and one month in I was like, slap slap slap. Here's your unmet expectations that you had, even though you thought you released them. Yeah. And you know, really expectations, in my opinion, this is not scientifically proven. In my opinion, expectations kind of drive our life, you know, I mean, I know for myself it drives my life, it drives my choices, it drives my relationships. And I'm not saying that is right, but there is a difference between, you know, you kind of think of, well then what are the healthy expectations that I should have?

I think first thing is making sure they're realistic, right? But at the same time as I was preparing for this, I thought, well, I think expectation is the wrong word to use. I think really a healthy quote unquote, healthy expectation is the word boundary, boundaries are great, boundaries are necessary, boundaries are helpful for us in our relationships to preserve our well being to make sure we don't lose the best of who we are, which that's actually from lisa turker. So I'm stealing that from her cause I'm reading her book on boundaries and also to protect the relationships, You know, I mean we're not staying here release all expectations. So that means my child or my spouse spouse can yell at me and disrespect me, well, no, no, no, that's not what we're saying, Those are boundaries, I have a boundary, you know that I should be treated with respect and I should be treated lovingly and kindly and you know, those are the right kind of quote unquote expectations or what I like to call boundaries, you know?

So the expectations that we want to be careful of are the ones that are raising the standard high, that doesn't really give the other person or ourselves a chance to meet it because again, it might be unrealistic, right? So if I have this expectation, especially, I think we all hit this right? And now nearing the end of no, not yeah, the end of february, right? March, we have set our goal for the new year, as you were saying, and we're kind of coming crashing down off of that, that high of the New year, right? Okay, Maybe realistically that was too much, like I'm gonna run every day, I'm gonna exercise every day, I'm going to go on dates with my spouse every week. I'm going, you know, be patient, my Children, all these things, these wonderful things that we had a goal of that now, reality sets in life sets in all the normal stresses, set it again and we're kind of kicking ourselves like, man, I, you know, I didn't do it, whereas a lot of times what happened is there unrealistic, you know, I mean, life is going to happen, we're going to have stresses, but just being very careful of our expectations and I heard this um I actually read this as I was preparing in Forbes, they said it really well, there's an article and it said expectations shape your reality and I thought that is so true, especially when I think about relationships with my Children or my marriage, if I had certain expectations going into it, right?

You when you become a new parent or when you're getting about to get married and it's, you know, the honeymoon stage and all that, you have this expectation and this ideal of what it's going to be, but it's not reality yet, right? But it does shape our reality because that's what we're expecting it and like you said, expectations are anticipated. So this is the way it's going to be right and what created these expectations in our head, it's things we've watched, you know, culture, our own opinions, our own experiences, good or bad, that we believe our own beliefs, all these different things have factored into it, so it's not like we're all perfectly aligned in our expectations, right? So then that causes a lot of conflict and so I know even just with Parenting as my kids are entering preteen stage and you know, being married for 17, going on 18 years now, there's, I mean, this word expectation, I had a new connotation, right? It's like it's not necessarily a good thing, its boundaries are fabulous, let's stick with the boundaries, you know, and just be very careful of not putting high standards on myself or the other person in this relationship that they can't meet.

Um because that is going to lead to resentment and anger frustration and one more last thing while I'm on my soapbox here telling you, I love this topic because I've I've really had to work on it personally. I know we both have, but um it said that expectations are specific outcomes that are anticipated, right? Like you said, we're boundaries because I compared well what's the difference between expectations and boundaries, boundaries are less restrictive and allow for various outcomes which leads to less disappointment. And I found this on Nia clinics dot com but I thought that was really well written because, you know, really when we think about what's the difference between expectations and boundaries, it boundaries, we have this kind of idea, you know, this hope really, and this is what I like to have in place and but it will still allow for other outcomes that well, there might be a whole lot of possibilities that happened and I'm going to accept what comes right?

Right, Right, I'm glad you made the distinction between expectations and boundaries, because that's important for people to understand. And also talking about the flexibility that we don't become emotionally attached to the outcome because when we have an emotional attachment and again, it's very subconscious, right? We're not consciously thinking, well if this doesn't happen, I'm gonna be mad. Not at all. Like I never went into my month long stay thinking, well if I get sick I'm gonna be upset. I never even thought it was gonna happen. Like I never expected kind of blindsided me. But I remember that day just feeling so frustrated and then having to work myself through it and going, it's okay, this is normal, this is life. And I wasn't emotionally attached. Like I just coach myself through it. Just coach my thoughts to help me feel better and get through it. And another thing is un communicated expectations. We're talking about expectations of other people, whether it's our spouse or our Children.

I think one of the things where we can get in trouble is having un communicated expectations. Like have expectations of others. But we don't even communicated to him to him. I'm saying to him, huh, that's a Freudian slip or to our Children right? We just think they should behave in this way or they should speak in this way or they should do this, right? It's more that shooting. But now we're shooting on others and we haven't even communicated. But then we get frustrated and then we add story to it, right? Well if he loved me, well if they respected me then they would fill in the blank whatever for you. But really it's an expectation you have from within, from your own life experiences and beliefs that you're putting on to others without even communicating it and then you're left with disappointment and frustration and all those negative emotions when people don't live up to your expectations, but that's your expectations.

So I think that's another place we get in trouble is with un communicated expectations with those closest to us. Like we haven't communicated to them, but we expect them to behave or talk or whatever in a certain way and then when they don't, we get frustrated, but yet we never even communicated like, hey, I need this, which is what's so beautiful boundaries because boundaries is really making a request to someone and saying if this or if not this, then this is the behavior I will take, You know, it's very protective of oneself. It's kind of like self care. It's very protective but unmet or un communicated expectations. Just lied to all the quote unquote negative feelings. Yeah. And just like you said, expectations that are un communicated a lot of our expectations. Our subconscious, you know, like I said, I mean they're built up by culture influences our past experiences, past relationships, all those things and we're not aware of all of them. We have so many, whether they're on ourselves or other people, but it's really important to just take note, right?

Practice some introspect introspection and be able to understand like, hey, if there's some conflict or if there's a disconnect between my spouse or if I'm getting more irritated or frustrated with my Children or impatient patients a big one. Um, or if I'm feeling inadequate, not feeling great about myself and what I'm doing, then just, you know, think about those things like just try to try to pay attention, you know, observation is key. Um I know we're already kind of diving into our practical, if you don't mind claudine since I'm already going there, right, That is number one practicing awareness. You know, I mean, it's so important to look within because what can happen with expectations or unmet expectations, we tend to want to blame because we feel one, we're right or two, we might feel offended and hurt. And so we will tend to blame the other person because in our own mind our expectations are our reality, right?

Right? So it feels so right to us. And I'm not saying there's anything really wrong with that. But if you really take a look at, how are these expectations serving me in my life in my relationships, how are they making me feel as a person? What kind of expectations do I have on myself? What expectations am I putting in my relationships? You know, even when we talk about kids, of course we have expectations of our kids, right? They need to pull their weight around the house, they should learn to clean up after themselves. They should, you know, respect, their an honor, their mother and father and you know, respect each other and there's obvious, absolute good healthy expectations that have there. But also how in the relationship part, especially, you know, making sure that again, also with a spouse or any other family member, co worker, friends, you know, any, any extended family, all of that above, you know, all of the above really is making sure that, you know, how is it going?

How, how are my expectations when I go to a family dinner or what am I feeling? Um, when I talk with this person or you know, just really becoming aware, asking yourself just taking some time to observe. That's the first place to start because you cannot change what you're unaware of, right? We know that. So just really taking some time to pay attention to what are my expectations. You know, one kind of funny one is in the morning and a lot of times we have to learn what our own expectations are before we can communicate it because there's times I didn't know in the morning, I don't really like to talk to anybody. Well my husband wakes up first thing, bright eyed, bushy tail singing in the shower, you know, and it's like, oh my gosh, but if I don't communicate, hey, I'm just not a morning person and I just like to have silence when I wake up, get my coffee, sit with my coffee for like 10, 15 minutes and then I can talk. You know here I have this expectation.

You should know that about me, right? We've been married so many years but never communicated it. But if I don't write, he might take that as wow. Like did I do something? She's I mean it's so easy to have like misunderstandings with expectations. You and I have that in common. I call it gathering my thoughts in the morning 30 plus years. My husband finally understands I need a good hour to quote unquote, gather thoughts in the morning, have my coffee. But I love that. I love awareness because you're right. So often we don't even realize that we have expectations. Like I said, I realized last year I thought I had a lot of expectations that weren't met. It was causing frustration. So that's why I decided to release expectation in 2023 obviously a few weeks and I'm like, oh I still have expectations. So yeah, where your expectation for that goal? You have been unmet? He has been unmet. So practical number two is and you've already mentioned this, consider how realistic your expectations are.

And were they communicated if they involve other people sometimes are our expectations are of circumstance, you know, like when I go on vacation I expect every day to be sunny, right? And warm. So that's yeah, but I'm going to You certainly have some disruptive feelings if emotionally attached to that outcome because even in beautiful Mexico it can be overcast and windy which we had a couple of days of that but that was all right because we were there 30. But you know, are your expectations realistic? And then if it involves someone else, have they been communicated? Like I think it is so important. We do create stories within our expectations. Like well if he loved me, he would know like I shouldn't have to tell him, how many times have I heard that from spouses if he loved me, if she respected me, I wouldn't have to tell her these things. But the truth of it is we're humans, we all have our own brains, we all have our egocentric perspective right?

We're all coming from ourself as the center. And so sometimes we need to have those conversations like this is what I need and this is how it helps me and it helps remove that. That has anything to do with the other person. So often we're like what's wrong with me or what did I do? And it has nothing to do with us. Like the morning thing, my my husband's same way he's up and chipper and ready to go. Like I need alone time. A fair amount of alone time to get equipment for the day. But when I communicated that with him, he understood it now wasn't like I was upset or frustrated. I mean this was years ago. But he understood Yeah, he's like she's still differently than me and that's okay. So yeah, consider how realistic your expectations are and it's be very careful when we put those on other people and also on ourselves because I do think again and I've shared this before, I think even for me my expectations, I should always be happy as a christian, I should always be happy.

And that was unrealistic. Life is 50 50 it's not we're not going to be always happy. That's not even realistic. Nor would we want to be because there are things in life that are hard or you know full of grief and sorrow and and I don't want to be happy when I hear bad news about my friend or one of my Children is going through a hard time. I don't want to feel happy. I want to have compassion, feel pain at times. But for myself I had this expectation that christian women are happy all the time. So that created a lot of disruptive feelings in my early years until I realized, wait, that's not the expectation here. Why am I putting that on myself? Yeah, exactly. So third and final point we want to wrap up with is practice emotional acceptance and that is being kind to ourselves, right? Having compassion self compassion and showing ourselves grace as well as others. You know, we having the mindset that we are all built different.

We all have our own set of expectations boundaries, experiences we've gone through and so we all come from a different place and we try to live at Unity, right? It's hard. But having these expectations can make like further complicate the relationship and or even our own experience of life here on earth. But practicing emotional acceptance and just being able to be open minded and understanding, showing Grace, it kind of reminds me of that scripture, right? Of that man that asked, jesus, well, how many times do I need to forgive my brother? You know, it's like seven times. He's like no, seven times 77 times. And it's like he had an expectation, right? Well seven times. It seems like a lot to me that I need to forgive someone because when we have been hurt and wounded by somebody, we tend to, you know, when we work it out and resolve it, we have this expectation that won't happen again, right? Well, I communicated how this hurt, so I know they're gonna stop, but then they don't because they're just built differently.

Right? So maybe that's what's going to happen is maybe we'll keep getting wounded in a relationship just because again, again, not talking about any form of abuse or anything like that here, I'm talking about just the general, you know, more common conflict On the floor for the 20th. Yes, those kinds of things. But being able to still have that compassion and say and just communicate again like, hey, this hurt me. That hurt my feelings. Can we try to not do this? Or you know, just communicate your needs that with Grace. You know, Grace and compassion? We are all imperfect people. We are trying our best to live at peace with others prayerfully. But also even with ourselves, don't forget to have that grace on ourselves too because we are our worst critic. We tend to come down very hard on ourselves, so with expectations with others, but also on ourselves. So just really keep that in mind.

Yeah, I love that and I love the Grace and compassion for ourselves and for others. And I think about when we have expectations that are unmet or they don't go as we planned or expected. Obviously we have a choice like we can react emotionally with anger and resistance or we can just kind of pause, get some awareness, assess it and then make a decision how best to proceed. And I think it takes that Grace and compassion to be able to do that right? And that's what I had to learn with all the expectations I had. And again last year I had a lot of expectation. I could find myself frustrated. That's why I decided to release it this year. And clearly it's a work in progress. But at least it at this point now I have the tools I have the tools to practice with the awareness. I have the tools to examine my thoughts like, how are my thoughts about this situation, impacting and creating my emotions and my feelings, and then I can make a decision, I can possibly make a decision.

How do I want the best act? Is this a conversation that needs to be had with someone? Was it a behavior that I will will not accept or tolerate? Which then we're moving into boundaries, or is it just me? Was this completely, really unrealistic? And I remember early in my marriage, my husband would leave his socks. That's why I brought up the socks, we had a hamper and he just could not put the socks in the hamper. And I would have conversations like, could you put the socks in the hamper? And to me it felt very disrespectful, but like I've asked him, and he's not doing it, He must not love me, You know, And it just became this whole story in my head because my expectations were put your dirty socks in the hamper, not on the floor next to the hamper. And eventually, I just realized, and this is long before I did all this work. But eventually I realized this is really unimportant, really is. And it's it's a reflection of you. It's not a reflection of me. The man just cannot put his socks in the hamper. You know, at the time we had a really tall hamper and eventually went to a laundry basket which was shorter and then they all started making it into the basket.

Who knows, maybe he was kicking him off. I don't know. But anyway, I mean that's a silly example, but it was an expectation I had and I really did create quite a bit of story and created a lot of frustration for me until I got some awareness and decided this is really unimportant. This is an unrealistic expectation at this point, even though he's fully capable, it's not worth the tension that's causing my marriage to let it go and I released it and I made a decision. I'm like, you know, the best way to proceed here is to just put them in there myself. Or as I found out down the road, get a shorter laundry basket. Sometimes that seems to solve problems solved. Problem solved. Well, I hope you all got something out of the expectations. Um I think it's something we all have. We all do, we get attached to what we think should happen or how people should behave. And it does create a lot of tension and disappointment and frustration. And if you need help to figure out if your expectations are real realistic or how to communicate them.

Ashley and I are here for you. You can reach out to us at mind over chaos dot com or Claudine Sweeney dot com, you can sign up for a free 30 minute mini coaching call and we can talk through your expectations to see if they're realistic and and if it's something you need to communicate, we are so grateful that you have tuned in today and we hope you have a fantastic rest of your week. Take care until next time. Alright, everyone, Thank you for joining in on our conversation today. Here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life

169 Managing Expectations
169 Managing Expectations
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