I have been feeling a lot of disappointment lately. Basically, it stems from the fact that my expectations do not meet reality.
An example is a situation that recently occurred with my friend, Jimmy Whispers*. (*I changed his name, but wouldn’t it be cool to have a friend named Jimmy Whispers though?) Jimmy Whispers sent me a text that his mom was in the hospital. As soon as I found out, I was in full Super Souzapalooza Go Mode – “What can I do? What do you need? How can I help?” Thankfully, Mamma Whispers was ok and returned home the next day. I checked in with Jimmy periodically, just to see if everything was ok and if they needed anything.
Now, my expectations lead me to believe that, this would be reciprocated, or at the very least recognized. If the tables turned, I expected that Jimmy would be helpful and supportive. That’s what friends should do right?
In speaking to Jimmy later on, he was telling me about some other friends who had been kind to him while his mom was sick. Rather than just listening, I became angry and upset. I felt that he should have recognized my friendship as well. Stressed from dealing with some of my own challenges this week, my expectations were screaming for (and at) Jimmy Whispers. He should have called/helped/done something!
The “shoulds” were getting Jimmy Whispers in trouble. “Shoulds” are what must be done, according to self-created expectations. The outcome created in your mind is dictated by the shoulds however, they don’t control reality. The “shoulds” are trouble makers that cause disappointments and arguments. In reality, Jimmy Whispers didn’t do anything wrong; he was just being Jimmy Whispers. He isn’t a mind reader; how would he know what I was expecting from him.
Here is a scene in the movie 500 Days of Summer which beautifully details the differences between expectations and reality. (excuse the subtitles)
At the end of the day, we all need to remember that none of us are fortune tellers. We can’t predict the future, nor can we control the final outcomes of a situation based on someone’s actions (or lack of actions). Besides, if you controlled all the outcomes, how would anyone ever surprise you?