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Expectations: Good or Bad?

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With this first week of 2011 flying by, I’ve recently starting thinking about expectations. One of the definitions of expectation is “ the degree of probability that that something will occur.” When I was a child, anticipation of birthdays, holidays, and of course summer vacation were expectations that I lived for. How exciting it was to plan for events that seemed so far off, yet so rewarding when they got here. As a mom, I relive some of those expectations through my children, who are always looking at things with an open mind.  But now, as an adult, I wonder are expectations good or bad?

The idea of hoping for something wonderful to occur or looking forward to something happening is good in my book. Setting goals is something we all should do and doing so with an open mind and a little bit of optimism is most likely a positive in many people’s books.

Perhaps the issue of expectations is where we set the bar.  Or maybe it’s in understanding what is really important and what’s not so important. Take for example the holidays. The sky was the limit when I was a child. Today sometimes we expect the holidays to be so picture-perfect that when they come and go, many of these expectations (or maybe they should be called pipe-dreams) are not met. Good or bad?

Perhaps with the start of the New Year, instead of expectations for what this year may hold, a thorough look at what’s really crucial to you and what’s not might be better. Then you can come up with a plan on how to achieve these things.

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What are your thoughts about expectations? Do you think they are a positive or negative thing? Was there a time when expectations about a good thing to come pulled you through a difficult time? Or, on the other side, a time when your expectations led to disappointment, or even trouble? Share your experiences below!

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1 Jaime McLeod { 01.07.11 at 1:00 pm }

A large part of my spiritual path is learning to see through my expectations. I don’t try to get rid of them, which wouldn’t be possible or even necessarily desirable, but I work with learning to see them as “empty.” The goal is to learn to be at peace with what is. It’s still OK to plan for the future — if you want to travel somewhere, it’s always better to buy your plane ticket early — but I try to do so with the understanding that it’s just that: a plan, not reality. When things don’t go my way, I work with letting go. According to my spiritual tradition (and many others) all of life is a process of letting go. That may sound sad or scary, but it can be a really beautiful experience to encounter the world with open hands.

2 snowlover { 01.07.11 at 11:28 am }

My expectations sometimes lets me down on two accounts. When it comes to the two things that I really love. Snow, and Food. When you hear the local Meterologist forecast snow and you haven’t seen any snow that year; you get your hopes up really high. I would sometimes get up in the middle of the night and peek out of the window, to find…nothing. Then I would wake up in the morning and still….nothing. UGH!!!!!!!! Or how about when you go to a new restaurant and you eat something that is so very delicious. You can’t wait to go back, and when you do….it’s not as good as before. UGH!!!! We need to learn not to set our expectations to high for anything or anyone. Your kids, spouse, and sometimes we ourselves can let us down. So I’m uhhh expecting snow this Tuesday…I’m trying not to think about it!!!! Yet still……

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