Posts Tagged ‘expectations’


Friday, December 26th, 2008

Are such dangerous things, and I don’t know which are worse, our own or other people’s.  At times like this, the everyone goes into a period of mild hysteria and we conspire to brainwash each other about the ‘fun’ we are all going to have.  Hollywood and the media bombard us with saccharine, idealised Christmases that we have never experienced; just think… how many white Xmases have you known?  I think I might have had two in over fifty years.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with telling each other these tales, but when we are living a rather smaller, greyer sort reality it can feel like we are cheated.  We may feel we are failing those we love by not succeeding in being able to make their dreams come true.  Our real families maybe, and probably are more flawed than these 2D images we are shown.  Our very desires for perfection often trip us up and make for rows and upsets.

Reality is so much more complicated that any story.  It has so many strands, colours and flavours.  Our job is to accept, enjoy and deal with it in the best way we can.  If Boxing Day finds you feeling a little confused or upset, let it all go.  Forgive yourself and everyone else, get out and enjoy the day.  Where we are the light is simply fabulous, and a true gift! 

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”  John Lubbock

Eunoia = Beautiful Thinking

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Apparently Eunoia is the shortest word in the English language to use all five vowels (a nice little tip for all you Scrabble fiends!) It comes from the Greek, ?????? which means well mind, and refers to a healthy, normal state of mind, or feelings of benevolence and goodwill. Now I don’t know what it says about our society that I have lived a great number of years and never heard a word like this; a word that refers to good or benign state of mind. I know hundreds of ways of saying “Sicko…”

If we approach each other with a positive expectation, if we seek to see the good in others (which is always there), then normally we get a much more positive response than if we let our doubts and fears lead the way. Indeed Aikido (a Japanese martial art) bases itself on a primary requirement to have a positive mental state, and teaches us to extend Ki (positive enerergy) to others.

Here is a harmless and free challenge for you today, approach those around you with this state of Eunoia and see the difference in what comes back to you…

“Attitudes are contagious.  Are yours worth catching?”  Dennis and Wendy Mannering

“Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”  Bill Meyer



Zero expectations

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

I had a good day, yesterday.  I woke very early and feeling well rested, got up and set about a series of small clearing-up type jobs, which one normally puts off, but make you feel very virtuous once done.  The sun was shining, and I felt we owed it to ourselves to escape the mess and go somewhere nice for lunch.  So we went to a local pub, and sat out in the garden, stream running through it, and had a nice lunch.  My sister mentioned she had a dvd that she hadn’t yet watched and knew nothing about; did we want to pop over and watch it?

Clearly we couldn’t have had less information or expectations about it.  We knew the name of a couple of the actors, that was it, though neither were huge ‘names’.  To cut a long story short, it was fantastic, just perfect for us.  A lovely English movie,  a little akin to “Four weddings & a funeral”, but totally original.  We had to pause it at times to stop laughing!

Had we been given the kind of build up I’m now giving you, perhaps it would have been less special.  So as we drove off, I reflected on the joy of unexpected pleasures like this.  It is true of our relationships, and our experiences.  If we are able to go into them unburdened by expectations, ours or anyone else’s we tend to have a better experience.  I wonder how you deal with this issue, and where perhaps you find that expectations just constantly get in the way.

PS>>  I have deliberately not mentioned the title, so you can enjoy it the way I did, but should you really want to know, I have linked it below.

“Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.”  Charlotte Bronte

“Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.”  Edward de Bono


  1. Here it is

England expects

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Nelson famously signalled to his fleet on the eve of Trafalgar “England expects that every man will do his duty”. He was hailed as a doughty British hero for this, but most of us get into rather more trouble where our expectations are concerned. We have a world view that cons us into ‘believing’ that everyone is like us (or at least they should be!) We are for some reason constantly caught off-guard when this turns out not to be true, despite our many years of contrary experience.

Even when we have no conscious expectations they are still there beneath the surface, waiting to trip us up. Now I am not unrealistic enough to suggest that we are capable of totally disarming this mechanism but if we could move, even a little way, from expecting to accepting, the world would be a better place and we would be a lot happier.

One of the greatest gifts we can give another human being is our acceptance. We all worry about the burden of others’ expectations and judge ourselves when we believe we have fallen short. It is a blessed relief to know that we are enough, just as we are.

Expectations are also a major cause of stress in our lives. For some reason we expect that yesterday’s dirty, late overcrowded train will today will be on-time, clean and have a seat for us! Once we start dealing with the ‘real’ person in front of us, or the ‘true’ situation in which we find ourselves, we start to be more successful and a good deal more content. Of course, once we have started to offer this to others, we can begin to give ourselves a slice of the same cake….

“Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.” Karen Casey

” Our entire life consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.” Jean Anouth

Great Expectations and the problems they bring

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Yesterday’s blog, and some of the comments on it, got me thinking about the problems expectations can cause us; so often it isn’t the thing itself that is the problem, rather the gap between what we experience and what we expected. We expect all sorts of things from other people, standards of behaviour, sets of priorities, use of language and we take ourselves as the benchmark for all of these standards. We ‘know’ that others are different from us; we ‘know’ that they have different pasts, different capabilities, different interests, different needs, but somehow we expect them to all do what we would do in any given situation.

If we are feeling more rational, we might recognise that this is simply not true, but at a base emotional level we still somehow expect it. If we diverge from our normal behaviour we understand the reasons because we have all the facts; of course, where others are concerned, we never have all the facts, even for those who are close to us. It is in our nature as human beings to try to predict the future, as this allows us to keep stay safe. Some part of our brains is constantly extrapolating and interpreting the world about us according to a set of rules we have in our heads. The problem is we each have a different rule book!

When people fall out, when communication is breaking down, this is often somewhere in the mix. If you want to unravel it, then at least you have to be clear about what you were expecting, challenge if it is reasonable in these circumstances, and ensure that you actually know and understand their circumstances too. The next step is to talk to them about this and explore it from both view points.

Expectations are inevitable; they are very powerful and can impact us and those around us in many ways both positively and negatively. So today, perhaps be a little clearer and more analytical about what you expect of yourself, of others and your world.

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” Dennis Wholey

“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Mark Twain