Managing Expectations

One of the greatest challenges of any new relationships is that of managing expectations.  In the beginning, there are always expectations.  Those expectations can define the success or the lack thereof; of the relationship.   So exactly what is meant by the word expectations?  Webster’s definition of the word presents a harmless picture of this word.  It simply states that an expectation is a “strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future”.  The second definition is similar it just makes expectations more personal by saying that it is a “strong belief that a person will or should achieve something”.

Now, call me slow if you need to but I must admit that I didn’t quite get the negatives associated with expectations until I started to look at some of the synonyms for the word; they included:  supposition, conjecture, predictions and assumptions.   When I saw the word assumptions I couldn’t help but to remember the age-old cliché regarding assumptions.  If you’ve never heard it, it references that when we assume, it has a propensity of making us both look like donkeys.  Yes, I’m using the cleaner version.  Then I saw the problem completely.

I began to remember that having expectations isn’t a bad thing.  You should expect some things out of yourself, out of your life, etc.  However, when it comes to people and communication, expectations can create major messes!   Most of us have these beliefs that people will or should achieve something but often, we never communicate that belief!  Sometimes we may even think we have but if we truly reflected on all of our expectations, we would see there are critical things missing.  There is no doubt in my mind that when problems in human relations, there is a problem of expectations being communicated!

I recently experienced this in the work place.  After about 6 months of working in my new environment, I found myself having buyer’s remorse.  I was majorly disappointed in how things functioned in my work environment and it broke my heart.  You see, I had high hopes.  I made the assumption that my supervisor and I both thought the same.  Heck she even stated on an occasion or two that we were a lot alike so I had some basis for thinking this way.  But truly no two people think exactly alike.  They may have similar philosophies but they are never identical. To make matters worse, I projected those beliefs on the new supervisor who was nothing like me.  She also projected expectations onto me, such as my work experience, my time in the area and my familiarity with the environment because she came after me.

Needless to say, that at approximately 90 days, I was not sure about them and they probably weren’t all that sure about me.  At six months, I was pretty much ready to leave and I’m certain they would let me.  It wasn’t until a co-worker and I discussed how I felt as if my trust had been betrayed that I began to pull back the layers of the problem.  My friend said, “You know, the Bible says not to put your trust in man”.  Wow! OKAY…she got me!  As a practitioner of my beliefs, I realized that I had failed to follow the chosen path!  I decided later to look proverbs, etc. about putting trust in man.  I found a verse that said you are “CURSED” when you put your hope or trust in man.  Double wow!

Why is this so?  Why would you be cursed to live in hell?  I know, I know, pick me teacher! The answer is (drumroll please) we put unreasonable expectations on each other and then fail to communicate those expectations fully.  Fulfilled expectations builds or reinforces trust while failed expectations destroy it.  Which further creates great disappointments on both sides of the relationship.  This then leads to unhappiness and suffering.  Which is exacerbated by depleting trust and loss of faith.  When you can’t leave the relationship, in my opinion this is a living hell!  How do I know this?  Let me introduce myself, I am Laticia and I am a recovering “expectator”! (yes, I made that word up)

I have frequently expected things only to end up disappointed because I didn’t effectively express those needs and desires especially in the work place.  Yes, I drank the Kool-aid, I honestly believe humans can work together efficiently, peaceably and have fun doing it.   I also manage to believe that everyone in a management position believes this also and strives to create that exact same vision that I see in my head of what that looks like!  To make matters worse, I expect them to know how to do it AND I expect them to do it like I would….and so, I’ve been cursed to live in this hell up until today. Today, the Lord has truly favored me and showed my error.  He has empowered me to walk in the newness of managed expectations and I am grateful!

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