Every day people share stories with me that essentially boil down to disappointment about people being who they are instead of who they expected or wanted them to be. We form pictures of who people are in our mind that sometimes don’t really bear any relation to their true selves. Yes, sometimes it’s because we want to see the best in people. Often, though, it’s a backhanded way of seeing the best in us. What we hope people are fits into the context of our own aspirations, possibly with them.

When they don’t live up to our expectations for them and for us, we feel incredibly disappointed and possibly hurt and rejected too. It’s as if the existence of our expectations and them not being met is down to whether we ‘deserved’ it.

People unfold.

All of this bullshit that we love to fluff people up with is entirely unnecessary. The most amount of pain in all of this is caused for ourselves. We get mad because they haven’t lived up to our expectations. The best time to be mad about someone not being who they’re ‘supposed’ to be is when they don’t live up to who they’ve claimed to be and the things that they’ve promised. That’s entirely different from us making assumptions, putting 2 + 2 together and making 200 and then feeling defrauded… by our own expectations.

People unfold.

If you’re feeling bruised by your expectations not being met, there’s something to be learned by slowing your roll and spending more time in the present. This is why you mustn’t Future Fake and Fast-Forward yourself. The ‘honeymoon’ will only last for a little while and then you’ll feel disappointed when your feelings have grown and you’ve possibly said all manner of things to your friends and family or even started shuffling your life around, and then this person isn’t who you thought they were. So many people struggle with disappointment, not necessarily because they’re experiencing The Biggest Disappointment Ever TM but because they battle with this sense of feeling like a fool.

You never have to go through these feelings if you don’t jump to conclusions and you recognise when you need to rein yourself in and calm it down. You never have to experience this disappointment if you accept that you meet someone on day zero and it’s going to take some time to get to know them. It doesn’t matter whether they’re beautiful, or they complimented you, or they’re rich, intelligent, interesting, made it feel like a firework went off in your pants or whatever. You’ve still got to get to know them.

Those assumptions you make, those expectations you have, those feelings you experience on meeting them don’t give you a fast track pass to the future. So yes, you still have to go through the discovery phase.

You can still like them but you have to stay grounded. If you project, you’re just screwing yourself over and that’s before they even have the opportunity to disappoint you by not matching their actions with their words.

I had this very long discussion with my mother yesterday about this topic and she couldn’t help but point out that my now-husband and I knew we were serious about each other within a few months. I laughed and said, “Yeah mum, but you don’t see me sitting here calling him an asshole nor was I doing this in the weeks, months, and years after we met…”

I hear stories all the time where people say stuff like, “I thought that they would do this”, “I was so sure that ________ would happen”, “I wouldn’t have expected that from her because she’s _____________ {insert assumption}” and “If it were me I would have ____________ so I just don’t understand why they did _____________”

Not all of our expectations are realistic. It’s realistic and necessary to have expectations but it’s critical for them to have a basis. An expectation is a strong belief that something is going to happen or be the case in the future.

We set ourselves up for disappointment when we see X at the outset of meeting somebody and assume that they are Y and that Z is going to happen.

The litmus test of whether you need to address your expectations is whether you have unhealthy beliefs about relationships, love, life and you. You act in line with what you believe otherwise you’d have to believe differently, which is all the more reason to address your expectations so that you don’t set you up to fall and fail. Don’t and you’ll be engaging in insanity – doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

It is realistic to expect to be treated with love, care, trust, and respect within a relationship but it’s unrealistic to expect that someone who isn’t actually consistently behaving this way ‘should’ behave this way or that they will and ‘should’ give you the relationship that you expect because of your feelings and your hopes and your expectations. I think it’s realistic to hope that you will see somebody again after sleeping with them but it’s unrealistic to think that it’s going to become a relationship or that they’re The One because you had a great date followed by even better sex on the first few dates. It is realistic to expect that a relationship that you’re putting your effort, emotion and time into ‘should’ go somewhere but it’s unrealistic to expect that relationship to go somewhere if when you remove what you’re doing, there isn’t much left, or you’re engaging in unhealthy behaviour within an unhealthy relationship.

People unfold. Whatever you expect should be based on the unfolded and unfolding person, not on a ‘snapshot’ that you took that bears no resemblance to who they are.

Your thoughts?

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