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Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

Last modified 2014-03-18 12:20

I'm sitting at the party.  I planned it so perfectly.  I would throw a surprise party for my best friend on my birthday.  She'll be so surprised!  She walks in the door.  She looks surprised.  She greets everyone and thanks them for coming.  She seems to be happy yet…… I know her better than anyone.  I don't feel that she’s as excited as I expected her to be.  I don't sense the appreciation that I had expected.  I start to feel upset.  I start to feel annoyed.  What is this other feeling that's gnawing at me?  I start to feel resentment.  All the planning, all the work, giving up my birthday celebration.  I quietly acknowledge what I'm feeling and remind myself:-

"Expectations are premeditated resentments"

This simple sentence has been a powerful reminder many times in my life that I'm getting off course.  In retrospect, when I reminded myself of this saying the night of the party, I was immediately taken out of my ego's need for external validation.  I knew I had done my best and I realized that that was all that was needed.  I also realized that what I can control are my thoughts about a situation.  When I have expectations of people, places and things I am setting myself up to be resentful.  I'm setting myself up to judge what I consider "appropriate" or "good" or even "acceptable".  When I have expectations I'm not living in the moment.  I'm living in the future.  When we're honest with ourselves we take ownership of our choices.  Having expectations has led me to resent:-

  • My parents
  • My children
  • My ex-spouse
  • My current spouse
  • My friends
  • My bosses
  • My mailman
  • Anyone and everyone, including myself

By learning to not expect people to know what I want and need, I've learned to be much clearer in my communication.  I don't expect my husband to know why I'm pouting; I try to tell him why I'm upset.  I don’t expect my children to know the house rules all the time; I am very clear when I remind them (even if it's the 200th time).  I don't expect my friends to pick up the phone and call me because they haven't heard from me in awhile; I pick up the phone and let them know that I need to talk.  This is still a challenge for me but as I continue to experience the negative effects of expectations, I'm learning to choose wisely.   I'm learning to choose what I want to do, why, for whom and with no strings attached:-

  • Where have you had expectations that turned into resentments?
  • How did you feel?  How did you feel about the other person or the situation?
  • Imagine the same scenario without any expectations.  How would it have turned out?  How would you have felt?


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