Archives for September 2016

Expectations Are Future Resentments?

I heard a famous person in an interview say, “Expectations are future resentments…”  My initial reaction was absolute agreement.

But as I thought more, it occurred to me that some expectations are good?  What kind of world would we live in if nobody had any expectations of others?  We may not resent anyone, but nothing would likely EVER GET DONE!

resentment

My next logical step (and I have also seen this in other places online) is UNREALISTIC Expectations are Future Resentments.  This one made much more sense to me.  If you expect something from someone that they have NO WAY to accomplish, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  Disappointment when compounded will eventually turn into resentment toward that person.

But then I thought, “WHO DEFINES UNREALISTIC?”  Obviously it is unrealistic that I am going to win a gold medal in swimming in the Olympics.  EVER…  But for Michael Phelps, it is not unrealistic at all…  So who gets to define it?  The person doing the expecting?  The person who has the expectation put on them?  Unfortunately, these two people will likely NEVER have the same definition…

So, back to square one.

Then it hit me.  What is the key to any good relationship?  Communication.

Un-Communicated Expectations Are Future Resentments…

In order for resentment to occur the person placing the expectation did one of two things.

They told the person about the expectation, and they did not come through.  There are a lot of potential issues with this one, however, we don’t have time to address all the issues in one blog post, so we’ll just go to the next one…

OR

They did not tell the person about the expectation…

Here are a three reasons why people do not tell others about their expectations:

  • We over-estimated the perceptiveness of the person we put an expectation on.  

Some people are VERY PERCEPTIVE.  Others of us, not so much…  I have told my wife before, if you want something done, please tell me.  Unless I physically have to stand on the garbage can and jump up and down, I probably won’t notice that it needs taken out.  That is not an excuse to not notice anything.  Obviously it does me well to try and improve on my perceptiveness, and I suggest you do the same.

For the sake of this conversation though, we will focus on the one placing the expectation.  Anytime we assume that someone else will notice something without just flat out telling them, it is a dangerous.  Think about a time when you missed something that should have been obvious.  It happens, right?  Life is a circle of entering a ‘storm’, living in a ‘storm’, and exiting a ‘storm’.  It is really easy to get caught up in our own ‘storm’ and miss things that are seemingly obvious.

  • We take for granted the life experience/knowledge WE have.

Seemingly obvious is where we ended on at the end of the last paragraph.  Seemingly obvious is very subjective as well.  Obvious to one person can be oblivious to someone else.  Following the garbage example, maybe one of my wife’s jobs growing up was emptying the trash.  That makes her acutely aware that the trash is overflowing.  Every day for the first 18 years of her life, she has noticed the trash can… Made it a point to make sure it wasn’t overflowing…  Her life experience and the knowledge that she has has altered her perspective (for the better, I may add…)

I however did not have that same experience.  It is human nature to take for granted the knowledge and life experiences you have.  Which leads to the logical conclusion that other people have similar knowledge since it is such base level for us.  It just isn’t the case…

  • We under-estimate the character of the person we put an expectation on.

This may be the most damaging to the person you are placing the expectation on.  I know I have both done it and had it done to me.  Neither is a good feeling.  Unfortunately it does happen where we think that since a person has reacted or acted a certain way before that they will act the same way again.  Instead of communicating with them, we just know that they will not handle the ‘right’ (read OUR) way, so it is best to just stay quiet about it.  The problem with this is that, even though we make a conscience decision to not tell them, we still think they should know.  So the bitterness builds and builds…

At the end of the day, bitterness, resentment, anger, it all builds and builds…  Eventually there is a volcanic eruption.  Sometimes it can be fixed, other times, it can’t…

Did I miss anything?  If so, let me know…

 

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