I've started to internalize the importance of controlling my expectations.
Why? Because expectations control our lives. They cause anxiety, disappointment and negativity.
Often, we don't choose our expectations. It's easy to get conditioned by society; expectations are easy to acquire but difficult to control.
Instagram gives us expectations that our lives should be filled with nice beaches, expensive food and fireworks.
Schools are also a great example. We condition students (and convince them) to spend hours studying for tests, staying up until silly o'clock so they can get a 96%. Were the students naturally born with this expectation of high grades? Probably not. We're a product of our environments; hyper-competition and stress breeds these expectations.
Expectations often cause unhappiness. They make us feel guilty, annoyed and stupid. They seep into every aspect of our lives.
If we CAN control our expectations, we CAN control our lives.
Almost everything you think you should do came from another source. The thoughts in your head aren't your own, neither are your goals.
There are three main types of expectations that slap me (and you) in the face.
Surprises = something different than your expectation. (I know what you're thinking; Isabella, surprises can be fun! Birthday parties, proposals, gifts all make for joyous experiences. And you're not wrong, they can be good.)
Surprises can also be bad:
Complaining = a situation that surprises you in a negative way; it's so negative that you feel the need to express "anger". For example, I was talking to someone a few weeks back, and they had such negative vibes. They were rude, offensive and unkind; I felt angry by what they were saying so I complained about this person to my trusted friend. My expectation was the person would be kind and trust-worthy, but that wasn't the case.
Disappointment = something doesn't have the result you expected. For example I was disappointed when I tried asking someone for something, and they said no.
Our material desires (cars, houses, watches, etc.) are expectations. Our reactions to situations (i.e., feeling angry while we're in deep traffic) are a result of the delta between what you thought would happen vs what did. ******
Expectation of identity = we feel we have a certain "essence" that we must stay true to. A personal expectation of how we should behave\act.
This can be helpful (i.e., could give you purpose) but it also has negative implications. For example I really enjoy being helpful, this forces me to make a ton of commitments\do a bunch of favors. Sometimes, these tasks really don't align with my goals, but since I value helpfulness I constantly feel obligated to follow through with my commitments because saying no is the hardest thing in the world. I can't negotiate contracts without having a mini panic attack, I don't voice my opinion directly or do what I really want because I don't want to lose my "identity" or "reputation".