Do you have high EXPECTATIONS OF PEOPLE in your life? Do you feel like people always seem to let YOU down??
The truth is… when we live in a world where we are expecting other people to react or respond to us in the way WE WANT them to… we are only ever going to be the ones feeling let down.
Why? Well, we actually have zero control over other people. We cannot control the way they react or respond to us, or the things that happen in relationships.
We can hope, wish, dream, push and pull that person to our expectation level – and yet, NOTHING is ever going to happen the way we expect it to. So, what happens then?
Feelings of resentment rise up
Feelings of disappointment rise up
Feelings of frustration and hurt rise up
Sometimes even a deep seeded feeling of sadness overcomes us – from that emotional disconnection. The disconnect of how you expected a person to behave, or for how things were supposed to have played out.
I want to share with you that EXPECTATION... is actually a type of control. Essentially it is where we are attempting to control the outcomes.
I say WE, because I am no stranger to putting expectations on people. I used to put people and certain relationships in my life on a pedestal. And then I could never work out why I felt so deeply wounded when things didn't play out how I had ex[ected. It was so much more than disappointment. It was a wound and crack.
It was my own unachievable expectations... hurting ME.
Many many years ago, in a romantic relationship I viewed a person in my life as better than me. I raised him up onto a golden throne, put his hopes and dreams and money-making ability ahead of mine. In my mind I fantasized about how it would all work, how he would respond to the glory of me supporting his dream, and how he would act in kind love and gratitude for this service and in turn support me emotionally and financially. And make me happy. THE END.
I actually set him up to FAIL ME.
I EXPECTED him to be the person I had imagined in my mind, when in fact the reality in front of me showed nothing of the sort. I wasn’t allowing him to be the person that he always was, OR accepting him for who he was.
Looking back now I realise that my expectations killed my happiness.
Nothing was ever good enough to the imagined scenario in my head. How could it be? I expected too much - how could anyone one person ever live up to those grand expectations?? So much PRESSURE. And of course, when things didn’t happen as I had expected - I responded to my hurt and "wounds" by lashing out in resentment and frustration. (I was a fire-cracker in my twenties!) Then isolate feeling deeply disconnected. Obviously, that relationship didn't last.
One of the biggest learnings in my life has been that having high expectations of people, is only ever going to hurt YOU.
Instead of having expectations, I learnt how to have STANDARDS.
Standards are awesome, they are based on fact. A standard is a level of quality you want to have within a person or relationship in your life.
Expectations are based on fiction. An expectation is a strong "belief" (hope/wish) that something is going to happen the way you want it to, in the future.
So, how do you create this shift within your relationships?
1. Calibrate your expectations on a person’s behaviour
If a person in your life is showing you their “standard behaviour” and it doesn’t align with your personal values – then know that putting an expectation on them to BE SOMEONE DIFFERENT or act differently is only ever going to hurt you.
Drop your expectations. Create your standards.
If someone is treating you a certain way that is upsetting you, and when you calibrate on current and past experiences you realise this is their "standard behaviour" towards you = then you have a choice.
Do you accept this persons standard behaviour? If this is as good as it gets - are you happy with how it is going to be?
What behaviour will you allow, or and not allow in your life?
2. All you can control is your own emotions
How WE REACT and RESPOND to the people, situations, and conversations in our lives is the only thing we can control in our life.
It’s a hard truth to learn, and I am grateful for the lesson. I learnt that if I stopped having expectations of people in my life (and focussed on standards instead) - I could accept and value people for WHO THEY REALLY ARE.
Accepting the reality of the situation, not living with an expectation of how it “should be” means you will be able to have more control over your emotions.
You are no longer pressing someone to be someone they are not. AND on the flip side they aren’t trying to constantly live up to your expectations, and failing you.
This allows you to feel more connected and happier in their presence. No longer are we playing this “game” of attempting to control the story or the outcome!
You be you. And I’ll focus on me being me.
So, how do you actually release your expectations? A good question to ask yourself is:
“Are my expectations… killing my happiness?”
Am I expecting someone or something to be different than what it REALLY is?
What is this persons repeated behaviour actually telling me?
Does this person’s behaviour align with my standards and personal values?
Am I forcing an outcome and expecting someone to give me something they actually can’t give me?
Then, return the focus back to you:
Why am I expecting someone or something to be what it is not?
What do I need out of this relationship, or situation that I am not getting?
Am I willing to accept this person/relationship/situation as is?
Can I release my expectations, knowing that doing so will allow me to have more control over my emotions and my happiness?
I know this is a big topic, and you may just be scratching the surface with these thought starters- if you've been struggling in this area then I hope this blog has helped you to find some clarity. Share your experience with me any time! JB
One of the key reasons I was drawn to the coaching methodology of NLP was because the foundation itself is based on communication. It is all about our language. The way we speak to ourselves, speak to people, use our body language and our ability to actively listen to get to the root cause of a problem.
I have always had a fascination with communication. Creative writing was one of my favourite subjects at school, later in my 30’s I studied Public Relations which is essentially communicating a message to influence with words, still and moving imagery, and media.
Words have meaning, and often they have double meanings. It is the way we speak words that gives them emotion.
After learning how certain words have a NEGATIVE charge on our life I opted to delete a few from my vocab; here’s why:
The word “TRY” – a wishy washy word, that we all know means you won’t do it!
Think about it - whenever you say “I’ll TRY to make it” everyone knows you are going to be there! You just didn’t want to say no and hurt anyone’s feelings or have fomo. Try implies you will “attempt” to do something. In that attempt you just aren’t sure if you will or you won’t. When you try you may or may not give it 100%. In my view you’re either in or out. You either believe in it or you don’t. If it is anything less than 100% - then just be honest and say what you really mean.
The word “DON’T” – I hear this one too often! “I don’t want that, or I don’t like it when he/she does this it makes me feel X”.
The more you say the word “don’t” the further AWAY you move yourself (your mind and your actions) from what you actually WANT. And you typically get more of what you don’t want! Whereas reframing your language to focus on what you “WANT” … will give you more of what you actually want - LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!!! (ahhhhhuh lol).
Now that little rant is over… let’s talk about the word of the day:
Louise Hay, author of many many personal development books explains this word the best:
“The word should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying it's“WRONG”. Either we ARE wrong, or WERE wrong, or we are GOING TO BE wrong.”
I have to agree with her.
Think about it for a moment. Can you think of a situation when someone recently has said to you:
“You SHOULD do this, or you SHOULD handle it like that, or you SHOULD go this way” – How does that make you feel?
When I’ve been on the receiving end of “Should” talking - I know full well I am not taking that persons advice/suggestion. Even if its amazing advice! HA. Why? There is some sort of internal radar to the word “should” that tells me DO NOT DO IT! (especially if it’s my husband telling me, for some reason HAHA!).
How about you?
It is because we feel like the person is saying we have handled it WRONG, or we cannot handle the situation so we need to be told what to do.
Seriously, most of the time – women just want to be heard! Agree? We actually really want to communicate and connect - not be told what we should be doing.
SHOULD (replaced with) COULD
Now, imagine the same scenario where you’ve been told you “SHOULD” do something… and imagine hearing the word COULD instead?
“You COULD do this, or you COULD handle it like that, or you COULD go this way”. How does that feel? Better, right?
Why? Because when we replace our language with the word COULD – then we feel as though it gives us a CHOICE.
We don’t feel wrong, we just see it as being offered multiple options. And it puts a whole new light on the subject.
SHOULD (replaced with) WOULD
In a recent Instagram video I shared with my thrive community the power of replacing the word “SHOULD” with “WOULD” when delivering our communication wanting to help a person to come to a decision, or give direction. I received some incredible feedback on how this simple shift in language has helped in the workplace when Managing a team, as well as in discussions with loved ones. Check it out here: