A couple of things happened the other day that got me thinking about expectations.
There’s a site out there that you can get on and read reviews about different cruise ships. What I found fascinating was that I could get on the site pick a cruise ship and pick a date, say for example a cruise covering November 11 to the 18th , I would read reviews about that cruise and was surprised at the diversity of the reviews. There is a lot of people who would give it a five star rating and they would go in detail about how great the food was, how excellent service was, and other aspects about the cruise that really impressed them. They would even talk about how clean the ship was.
Who Wouldn’t Expect to Love A Good Cruise?
But then I would read other reviews written about the same cruise ship, during the same date, and even referring to the same meal time and restaurant, they would give the exact opposite review. It’s as if the people were on two different ships at two different times dealing with different people, but that wasn’t the case. One person would talk about how clean the ship was, another person would talk about the poor shape of the ship. One person would say that the food and service was the best they’ve ever had. Another person would talk about how poorly the food was prepared and that the service was terrible.
What Are Your Expectation Levels?
Why was there such a different set of reviews about the same cruise? I began to realize that the difference in the reviews wasn’t so much about the ship, the service, the food or any of those factors but it had to do with the expectations of the person giving the review.
If they came to the ship with certain expectations, whether they are right or wrong isn’t the issue, if they came with certain expectations that weren’t met then it created in them a negative response. When expectations aren’t met it creates an attitude in someone that causes them to begin looking for all sorts of things that could be wrong, even getting overly picky about the event, meal or location.
But if a person goes into a situation whether it be taking a cruise, vacation, or going to a restaurant, if they go in with low or no expectations, then they are more prepared to look for things that will impress them, or be a blessing to them. In a sense anything above line zero makes them feel good because they came in with no expectations.
So the person who comes in with an expectation level of zero has a much higher possibility of having a good and memorable experience. But the person who comes in with an expectation level of ten is most likely going to experience disappointment at all levels.
I believe expectations to be overall a dangerous thing. They set us up for potential problems when our expectations are not met.
We have expectations in all areas of our lives. When it comes to marriage, a husband, or wife comes into the relationship typically with a certain amount of expectations and when those expectations are not met it can create tension and stress in a relationship.
If we want to experience more peace and less stress in our lives we need to learn how to manage our expectations; actually, for the most part, get rid of our expectations. Because in every situation that you find yourself. you can find something to grumble about or something good.
Too many people go into situations looking for things to pick at instead of looking for things that are positive. They look for things to grumble about rather than things to praise.
Expectations Cause Us To Focus In the Wrong Areas
Many of our expectations are unreasonable, unhealthy, and not useful. This is the case in most relationships and especially in a marriage relationship. If you bring into that relationship expectations of how you think it should be, or how you think your spouse should be acting, or what you think your spouse should be doing, you will suffer disappointment. But instead if you will look for the things that attracted you to that person, the things that are profitable, things that they are good at doing, the personality traits that drew you to them in the first place… if you focus on those things instead of the unmet expectations it could transform the relationship.
This happens also in a relationship with God, people come into that relationship with certain expectations of how they think God should be acting, what he should be doing, how He should be responding to their needs and their prayers…then when those expectations are not met they become bitter and angry at God.
Then there are the expectations that we put on ourselves, certain standards that we think we should be living up to, certain tasks that we think we should be getting done, a bunch of expectations, that can weigh us down.
We need to accept the fact that all of our expectations will not be met and most likely most of them should not even be met. Expectations tend to be selfish because they’re related to things that I want, things that I think should be happening, things that would make me more comfortable.
In our society we have trained people in an attitude of entitlement. When you walk in expectations towards people whether it be your spouse, your children, going to a restaurant or situations at work you are actually walking in an attitude of entitlement.
You believe that you are entitled to the thing that you’re expecting. And when you don’t receive the thing that you are expecting that creates frustration, anger, and resentment.
This is not a good attitude to carry with us, in fact it is a heavy burden to carry that will weigh us down and hold us back.
You must learn how to manage, trim down, or eliminate most of your expectations.
You do not want to carry around the weight of expectations.
Instead of expecting, give. Instead of having an attitude of entitlement have an attitude of a servant.