Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pearl of the Day: What Was I Expecting?

"Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life."  ~Marilu Henner

Do you struggle with disappointment and discouragement because of unmet expectations?  Do you feel like your faith is being pushed to the limit because of unfulfilled dreams and desires?  It's so hard when you have expectations and desires about certain things that have not come to pass.  There have been so many times where I have been disappointed when things didn't turn out the way I was expecting or hoping they would.  As a matter of fact, I've had to come to terms with some situations over the last couple of days that have not turned out the way I was hoping they would, and quite honestly, I don't know if they ever will.  I've had to take a good hard look at the way I've been dealing with these things.  I've discovered some pretty interesting things that I would like to share with you over the next couple of days.  I believe it will really help you if you have struggled in this area as I have.

Expectations- something looked forward to, whether hoped for or feared; anticipation.

We all have expectations.  Having expectations is not a bad thing.  We have certain expectations of people, life, ourselves, and even certain expectations of God.  We go through each day with expectations, whether we realize it or not.  We normally base our expectations on past experiences we've had, our belief system, and sometimes how we were brought up as a child.  The expectations we have can either be realistic or unrealistic.  Let's take a look at some examples of realistic expectations:

*I expect to have electricity in my home since I am paying the electric company to provide it.
*I expect my husband to be supportive and understanding of me when I'm going through difficulties.
*I expect my van to start when I get in it to go somewhere.
*I expect others to treat me with respect and consideration.

Now, let's look at these same expectations with a different twist on them that will make them unrealistic:

*I expect to have electricity in my home at all times, even when there are major storms that blow trees down on the lines, since I am paying the electric company to provide it.
*I expect my husband to be supportive and understanding of me when I'm going through difficulties, even when I give him the silent treatment and expect him to read my mind without telling him what's bothering me.
*I expect my van to start when I get in it to go somewhere, even though I ran out of gas coming up the driveway earlier.
*I expect others to treat me with respect and consideration at all times.

I know a few of those examples are a little far-fetched, but the point I'm trying to make is that our expectations can go from realistic to unrealistic by failing to realize that things do not always go the way we think they should, or the way we would like them to.  I would love it if other people always treated me with respect and consideration, but you and I both know that it's unrealistic to think that will happen all the time.  Even though I try to treat people the way I want to be treated, that doesn't mean they will treat me the same way.  I am only setting myself up for disappointment if I believe that will happen.

We have no control over other people and how they choose to respond to certain situations.  We also have very little control over life in general.  We have no control over God.  The only control we have is over ourselves, and even then we have to be careful about the expectations we place on ourselves because they can be unrealistic and distorted.  This can be a very big problem for some people, especially if you have struggled with self-worth issues.  I've struggled with these things myself.  The expectations we place on ourselves and others, based on what we think should or should not happen, can cause us to feel powerless and discouraged when things don't go the way we want them to.

This is where I will close for today my friends.  I will pick back up with the conclusion tomorrow.  I have really had to take a closer look at the expectations I have of others, my life, myself, and God, over the last couple of days.  It has definitely been a learning experience for me.  I would like to leave you with this:  Even when others fall short of your expectations, that is not a reflection of your worth and value.  Your worth and value are not determined by the way others treat you or how your life is going.  Many times we mistakenly base our happiness on the things we have no control over.  Don't give the power for your own happiness away.  You are the only one who can determine and control your own happiness.  Until next time my friends, be blessed!

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.   If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.   For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." ~Kent M. Keith

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