Tom Cruise’s character, Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, tries to set the bar low for his commanding officer in the latest installment of Top Gun as he delivers the line about managing expectations.
Several themes in this movie seemed poignant to me, however, the one that grabbed me this morning was about managing my expectations.
And lately, some of my expectations have been fucking me up.
Some say that expectations are planned disappointments, or even better, planned resentments.
Although I try to steer clear of such black-and-white statements, I have noticed recently that I have felt disappointed and resentful.
I think it’s healthy to have reasonable expectations – which I will attempt to address later.
However, what gets me wrapped around the axle are my unreasonable expectations.
For me, unreasonable expectations include basing my happiness on what others say, do, or don’t do.
That is a slippery slope of codependency.
No person should have the power in my life to determine my happiness whether they show up the way I want them to or not.
I draw your attention to the words “I want.”
Sometimes, things do not go the way “I want.”
Sometimes, I even misperceive things as going contrary to what I want and find myself upset.
Another slippery slope is expecting people to read my mind.
Maybe, just maybe, they are not thinking the same way I am.
Maybe they don’t feel the way I do or want what I want.
Maybe what I want is based in fantasy, and what they want is based on their own reality?
If I don’t communicate what I want, how should I expect anyone to know?
Maybe even my wants are unreasonable?
Last night, I got pissed off because I couldn’t sleep.
I was tired and expected to sleep.
But my mind just kept ruminating over a perceived disappointment based on unreasonable expectations.
At some point, I even decided to get up later than normal because I clearly was not going to get enough sleep.
Even then, I still woke up around my normal 4:30am.
I expected the water to be cold in the shower this morning (yes, I take cold showers – see https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/13/five-life-hacks-for-hard-times/).
But because I live in Phoenix and the pipes were warm from yesterday, the shower was also warm.
My point is, if I expect life to go a certain way or people to act based on my wants, I will frequently be disappointed.
Typing this sounds like a victimy statement to me.
However, as stated, not all expectations are unreasonable, and knowing that when I expect people to behave a certain way, I am choosing to set myself up for disappointment.
It’s not about them.
It’s about managing my own expectations.
I find it perfectly reasonable to expect my friends to treat me with respect.
Yes, they (like me) will fall short from time to time and say or do something harmful.
That’s life and part of being human.
However, IF they are to remain my friend, a certain code of conduct is required.
I expect my friends to be honest with me (to the best of their ability).
To me, honesty is a sign of respect and a reasonable expectation.
I expect my landlord to provide a peaceful and private living environment when I pay my monthly rent.
I expect my employer to pay me every two weeks for services rendered.
I expect myself to honor my commitments.
I expect that if I eat healthy and go to the gym regularly, I will stay fit and get stronger.
I expect other cars to stop at red lights and stay in their lane. (However, I always watch out because they don’t always stop or stay in their lane).
I guess you could say I expect them to violate traffic laws. Must be the motorcyclist in me.
There is a long list of reasonable expectations.
So today’s drill, kids, is to manage my expectations.
For me, this closely resembles (at times) dancing with my demons. (See yesterday’s post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/31/you-dont-need-their-approval-or-do-you/).
Sometimes, I get little reminders that my expectations are off balance because, as stated, I feel either disappointed and/or resentful.
If I am starting to feel crabby, this is a good sign I may be operating from unreasonable expectations.
Another tail-chasing trap I fall into, is getting upset with myself for feeling upset.
That is some self-defeating ass behavior there!
By expecting myself to never feel upset, I am setting myself up for failure.
I don’t like to live in the world of woe is me, but I go there, and it can get dark quick.
So today, I get to practice self-compassion and look at my accountability mirror which reminds me, “No Self-Pity! Stop being a victim, motherfucker!” You can thank David Goggins for inspiring the harsh messages on my mirror.
But it’s the truth!
Yes, I can love myself into feeling okay.
I can gently give myself permission to feel the feelings.
Then, I need to fetch myself up to attention and remember that I don’t get the luxury of wallowing anymore.
I lived life like that long enough.
I am not a fucking victim, I am a volunteer.
If I feel upset, it’s because I made a decision (based in self) that “later placed [me] in a position to be hurt” (AA, pg. 62).
So in order to stop being a victim, I need to manage my expectations, and remember that my happiness is not dependent on other people or circumstances.
My happiness is based in my relationship with my higher power, myself, my spiritual practice, and being of service to others.
I’ll use the same quote I used yesterday from my friend, “External circumstances cannot touch the still waters within.”
Everyday is a new lesson in letting go.
And today’s lesson is letting go of unreasonable expectations.
Today’s post was short and sweet because I did not get a lot of sleep and don’t really have a lot to say about expectations.
Hopefully, the post did not fall short of your expectations. lol
Or at the very least, it opened your eyes to consider the role of expectations in your life and offered you some insight into having greater peace of mind.
I hope you can relate and give yourself some grace.
And at the same time you are holding space for yourself, don’t let yourself make fucking excuses!
You are not a victim!
You are a volunteer.
If you are upset, look inside.
That’s where you will find the freedom to release expectations and resentment.
That’s where true happiness is found – inside of you!
Thank you for reading today’s least inspired post I’ve written. Lol. I’ll be sure to manage my expectations around what others may or may not think of it. Feel free to follow, like, and comment. I also offer Life Coaching services. If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track!