By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(September 6, 2017)
Recently I read this definition of expectation, and I had to stop and think about it. I had never heard it described in such a way…
“Expectation is premeditated resentment.” (Author unknown)
Yet the statement rang true and prompted the following reflections:
We don’t realize we premeditate resentment when we have expectations. Yet it makes sense that’s what really happens. The premeditation part occurs in secret, in our hidden shadow self, where the ego sets us up for some real downers. The majority of the time, when we hold expectations, aren’t we usually disappointed? Yet we forge our expectations anyway.
Expectations arise to lay the responsibility for our happiness onto another. It’s not the responsibility of someone else to make us happy by falling in line with what we would have him do or be. The responsibility for our happiness lies in one place only – with ourselves.
Expectations arise to make us feel righteous. How often have I held my husband in the grip of some expectation only to feel disappointment and resentment? It’s often an unconscious process how the ego, through our expectations, sets others up to fail. Then it (the ego, the diminished little “me”) gets to feel powerful in its “rightness.” When others fail to meet our expectations, do we use it as an excuse to hold it over their heads?
There is only one expectation that serves us and others: the expectation that others will only be themselves. Always. No strings attached. We can also hold the expectation that others WILL push our buttons, causing us discomfort so we can recognize our own egos at work.
It’s our job to own and transform these patterns others reflect back to us. When we see how our expectations provide us with opportunities to move past our resentments, those resentments become our teachers. Then we can actually welcome uncomfortable feedback in the form of unmet expectations.
Yes, if we let them, expectations become a set-up for our growth in wisdom. In freeing others from our expectations, we free ourselves.