Should Expectations Be Abandoned?

“I believe expectations are premeditated resentment.” –
Pastor Rudy Rasmus

I read this in my latest issue of O (The Oprah) magazine. (If you know me, you know that I’m a giant proponent of this magazine. I frequently jump on my soapbox about why it is the best women’s magazine on newsstands, but I’ll save that for another time … But seriously, if you’ve never picked up a copy, please do.)

This quote has haunted me for days. When I first read it, it stopped me dead in my tracks. As Mr. Man will gladly attest, I’m a person with a lot of expectations. I expect a lot from myself, and I expect a lot from others. I have expectations for our wedding; I have expectations for where we will be living five years from now. I have expectations for where I should be professionally 10 years from now; I have expectations for how my friends should treat me. My list goes on and on.

So, when I read that, I immediately thought of all the times I’ve been disappointed or angry or depressed about something or with someone. Wouldn’t you know? All of them could be traced back to expectations.

The most obvious one is the wedding.

I wasn’t a girl who fantasized about her wedding when she was little. I’m not one to blame society for the problems with our culture’s need for bigger, better, brighter, etc., but once that engagement ring was on my finger, and I started paying attention to other girls’ rings and wedding planning, I felt an overwhelming urge to “keep up with the Jones’” as never before. Where I previously only had the expectation of having an open bar, new ones piled up faster than the numbers on our guest list. Resentment boiled within me on a daily basis.

Obviously, this concept has been mocked time and time again (Most recently, can we say “Bride Wars?”), which is why it’s so humiliating to admit I became “that girl.” It just goes to show that at the root of every stereotype lays a grain of truth.

My next thoughts went to times when I expected various friends, family, co-workers or a certain soon-to-be-spouse to do something or act a certain way, and they let me down. Sure, apologies were made, and I’ve since forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten. Would I feel differently if I hadn’t had any expectations?

I’ve racked my brain all week trying to come up with an instance where my expectations haven’t led me to a negative emotion in the end, and I have yet to find one. I’ve also discovered that since I have learned the two hard truths of wedding planning and let go of my expectations for our wedding, I have felt calmer and happier than I have in months.

While this might sound as if I’m anti-expectations, that’s not the case. Expectations make me work harder and do more for others. In my case, they are an excellent motivational tool. However, I realize that I have too many expectation, and they’re often unrealistically high. I need to find a balance.

What are your thoughts on “expectations are premeditated resentment?”

Goals Update:
I accomplished two of my three most important things today:

  • I interviewed my source for the Cat Fancy article.
  • I wrote a thank-you note.
  • I’m having difficulty carving out time for meditation. Even though it’s only 15 minutes, it just feels unnatural to drop what I’m doing and go have quiet time alone. It seems like this should be a ritual I either do first thing in the morning, or the last thing before bed.

Other Stuff I Got Done:

  • Swept and mopped our kitchen, which hadn’t been done since oh … the Super Bowl.

Tomorrow’s 3 Most Important Things:

  • I don’t have any. Fridays are my day off from self-improvement.

Related Posts:
2 Hard Truths About Wedding Planning
More Wedding Planning Tips
My Wedding Dress Shopping Tip

This entry was posted in Happiness Goals, Life Lessons, Wedding Goals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Should Expectations Be Abandoned?

  1. Crys says:

    I think I too have been let down by expectations, and I’ve had to learn to expect less from others and just realistically expect from myself (if that makes sense). I think people are always going to disappoint you in life, it’s what you do with that disappointment that matters. I’ve actually lived a lot by “If I can’t change it then I must change my view/perspective of it.” That’s actually helped me a lot in wedding planning. That and I don’t like to follow the trends, I expect myself to be different. He he.

  2. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks, Crystal, that’s really good advice that I try to follow. I’ve told myself something similar to that (“If I can’t change it then I must change my view/perspective of it.”) all along the wedding planning process, but I couldn’t make it really sink in/make myself really act on it. It’s only within this last week that it really just clicked. I can’t explain it.

  3. Kerrie says:

    This is a great post. I, too, wasn’t a young girl who imagined her wedding a certain way. Like you, I got caught up in all the planning. Then, guess what? Everything went wrong. But, in the end, it was all OK. And, now that I have a baby, I realize how small all those little issues at the wedding really were.

    As far as expectations, I struggle with that, as well. I’ve blogged about all my goals, too, and it makes me feel so much better just to get it out there, to say it “out loud.” 🙂

  4. orphu says:

    These are great insights!

    I’m having trouble finding time to meditate too… I’ve noticed I fall asleep faster if I meditate, so I figure I don’t lose any time meditating. Though I don’t know if it works the same way for you?

    Anyways, thanks for sharing =)

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