Dialing down our expectation meter.

January 25, 2007 at 8:49 am 4 comments

sd-zoo-2007010.jpgWhen we find ourselves frustrated, exasperated, depressed or just plain angry could it be that our expectations are too high?  It would be great if everything in life worked out exactly as we expect it to, but that is hardly realistic.

I have always had very high expectations for myself and for those in the sphere I was part of.  Often I was disappointed by my own shortcomings and by the failures of those around me to meet what I expected of them; that led to frustration, disappointment and sometimes anger.

I have learned that dialing down the expectation meter does not mean becoming pessimistic, nor does it mean I don’t hope for the best nor work for the best.  Lowering expectations means being more realistic.  Kids don’t always act the way they should or the way we want them to.  Work is not always fulfilling or easy.  Parents are imperfect and make mistakes. The house we wanted is not the house we have.   God doesn’t always work things for good, sometimes He works them for our good (check out Romans 8:28).  Equipment breaks, traffic is slow, food burns, most of us are always a little short of the money we would like to have, people are sometimes mean, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, the job we want seems out of our grasp, our bodies don’t work perfectly or look like we might want.  Stuff happens.  It is the way it is.

“It’s a matter of being amenable to what is, to what you’re able to do and to others limitations.” says Halcyone Bohen, a psychologist in Washington, D.C.  “People who are more accepting tend to get more joy out of life.”

When we adjust our expectations in such a way as to reflect reality, we are not giving in, we are simply acknowledging that everything is not under our control.  We can do our best and still it doesn’t work out just the way we expected. 

If happiness and general well being could be enhanced by dailing down our expectations a couple of degrees, wouldn’t it make sense to adjust it a little?  Hopes and dreams are important and a valuable part of life but life is best lived acknowledging that enjoying what you have right now and appreciating each day as a special gift is a lot better than wanting what isn’t and expecting what won’t.  With that in mind we keep working and trying to find ways to accomplish the goals we have, knowing it will probably take longer than we expect and the end result may be different than we first expected.

Let’s all dial our expectation meter down a little today and see if our day isn’t just a little bit brighter and a little more fulfilling. 

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Entry filed under: Culture, Faith, Thoughts.

The San Diego Zoo and Noah. Nothing much.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JennJo  |  April 1, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    This reminds me of a prayer: “Thank You, Father that nothing can happen to me unless You allow it. Ultimately, everything comes from You and You will use it to bring me blessing.” Thanks for sharing. I know it helps me to realize that God gives me just what I need when I need it and I can either take it as something special from His heart and His hand, or I can grumble, complain, and get pushed out of shape that things aren’t going how I thought they should.

  • 2. Ron Marrs  |  January 29, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Greg,
    Thanks for this. I’m off to get one of our cars towed to the mechanic after I couldn’t get it out of part on Saturday. I was feeling a lot of stress as I got up this morning. I’ll work on enjoying life today.

    Ron

  • 3. amanda  |  January 28, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    how wonderful to have a much respected teacher back doing what he does best, making us reexamine our lives.

  • 4. CostRecoveryTeam  |  January 25, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    This is a very good point. I think this is crucial in order to maintain a happy and satisfying life. Lowering expectations isn’t easy, but it can make the tough times in our lives seem not so tough.
    CRT

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