To explain how you end up feeling disappointed and what you can do about that from now on, here’s an excerpt from my book FORGET YOUR TROUBLES: Enjoy Your Life Today —
Expectations and resentments
A tremendous amount of stress stems from having expectations that someone will do or say something that you want, or that an important event will happen in a certain way. The reason for the stress is that inevitably those expectations don’t come true exactly as you wished.
The more you can avoid having expectations, the smoother your life will go.
This does not mean that you lower expectations to the degree of accepting poor treatment from anyone. You are entitled to expect kindness and respect from everyone in your life.
Unreasonable expectations involve sitting in the director’s chair as if you are in charge and the others around you are mere actors who must do things your way. Taken to an extreme, that person is a tyrant. But how often do you sit in that chair and feel that you have the right to it? Most of us have expectations and resentments as a normal part of our lives, because we’ve been doing it since childhood!
You expect to be invited to someone’s birthday party, but the invitation doesn’t come –so you resent and dislike the person, maybe even turn your other friends against them with cruel gossip.
Growing up, you get used to your mind being full of wishful thoughts and anticipation. You constantly have imaginary conversations in your head, where other people ask you on dates or to important events. Then when it doesn’t happen the way you imagined, you are crushed. You may hate or be annoyed with the other person for bursting your bubble, and the resentment grows.
It’s as if your mind built up the future to such an extent that you now feel cheated. You had come to see the event as something that you deserved, whether it’s an employee of the month award that goes to a rival coworker, or the marriage proposal that someone gets before you do.
Resentments can be sneaky. We can end up feeling uneasy and uncomfortable inside without understanding why.
Some ways you can recognize a resentment in the early stage is that you are thinking, “Well! I assumed she would take care of that…” “For heaven’s sakes, any fool knows they ought to…” “Oh, I thought he was going to say…” In each case, fill in the blank with whatever you were hoping or waiting for someone else to do.
The more you can learn to live in the present moment without spinning your thoughts on future events and inventing conversations in your head, the more easily you will avoid the trap of expectations and the resulting resentments.
Even if it’s a clear case of mis-communication, or that someone promised to do something and then fails to do it, it is still your choice whether you get a resentment if someone doesn’t do what you anticipated, or whether you keep your emotions neutral.
Life is more serene when you stop expecting other people and events to turn out a certain way. Instead, enjoy the surprises that this journey brings, and allow yourself to be open to new adventures just around the corner.
If you are in a situation where another person constantly makes promises they don’t keep, ask yourself why you still believe them, and why you expect the best outcome when they’ve shown by their behavior that they will disappoint you. There is a point where you have to cut loose from people who play games that hurt.