What Women Want Today

Managing Expectations: Navigating the Path to Disappointment

November 21, 2023 Terri L Kellums & Amanda Kieper Season 4 Episode 6
What Women Want Today
Managing Expectations: Navigating the Path to Disappointment
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

There's something sneaky that creeps into our minds around the holiday season - expectations.  We've all experienced the disappointment that can come when expectations are not met. This episode is all about unpacking these mental projections, figuring out how societal norms and personal experiences shape them, and, most importantly, how to manage them effectively. We'll take a closer look at the thin line separating realistic from unrealistic expectations and equip you with strategies to avoid disappointment.

Beyond the disappointment, we delve deeper into how unmet expectations can impact relationships and stir personal growth. We'll share insights on how crushed hopes can create a chasm between people and instigate resentment, yet also present invaluable opportunities for candid communication and better understanding of one another. You'll hear us talk about disappointment's surprising role in self-reflection and personal development, pushing us to foster resilience, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. Expectations are everywhere, from our careers to our personal relationships and body image. Join us as we explore ways to manage them effectively through self-awareness, understanding our values, identifying patterns, practicing mindfulness, and seeking feedback.

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Speaker 1:

You're listening to the what Women Want Today podcast. If you love the idea of being part of a community of women who are looking to thrive, not just survive, you're in the right place. Join hosts Terry Cullums and Amanda Keeper each week, as they bring you topics and guests to help you improve your relationships, your health and your emotional and spiritual well-being.

Speaker 2:

Women Want Today podcast episode. I am your host, Terry Cullums. Welcome back. If you are a regular listener and if you stumbled across our podcast today for the very first time, you and my regular listeners may be expecting a co-host for today's episode. And that, my friends, is what we are going to be talking about on today's episode Expectations, what they are, how they can lead to disappointment and some tips on managing them. The first part of my story today is the very reason for today's episode, but as I began to think more about it, I realized this is the perfect time to talk about expectations. Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas is around the corner. We tend to have a lot of expectations around the holidays. Here's the story Yesterday, I had an interview scheduled with a guest whose public relations person was very tenacious and also very gracious when she first approached me to have her client on the podcast. The timing just didn't feel right with the episodes that we were recording at the time, so I asked her to contact me in the future. Well, recently she contacted me again and as we were trying to coordinate three schedules, I felt the only way to make it work was to reschedule my pre-app appointment for the surgery I'm scheduled to have on December 6th. In preparation for the interview, I read the guest's book, I imagined the questions I might ask and I finally did all the preparation I do to get ready for an episode. As I'm interviewing this guest, about ten minutes in I get an error message on my recording platform that says I need to reload the studio. Oh, I was so frustrated. I felt so unprofessional in what an inconvenience it was to my guest. But after finally getting that error fix and we resumed recording, we began our conversation again, only to have the entire screen freeze and then I got an indication that I had lost my internet connection. Have you ever been having a very thought provoking conversation with someone where you are interrupted several times? As you can probably imagine, it's frustrating and it takes the energy and the steam out of your storytelling. We were not able to continue our interview and that was going to be the episode that would air today. But let me point out some things that are probably obvious, but they help give some deeper context to today's topic. She expected professionalism and I expected to give it to her. We were both frustrated and I was definitely disappointed. I expected my internet provider to keep up their end of the bargain. When I signed up for their services and agreed to pay my monthly service charge, I was disappointed. I rescheduled a very important doctor appointment, expecting to have an episode to give to my audience. You may have been disappointed. My husband came home from work later that day and he asked me how my day went and how the interview went, and as I recounted the details of my day, his words were so things didn't go as expected today, Jackpot. As the evening wore on and I thought more and more about not releasing an episode, I continued to feel disappointed and when I woke up I realized I did have a topic I could bring to you, and a very timely one at that. So I love starting out this conversation with a definition and here's my definition for expectations. These are the sneaky little thoughts that we have about how things should go or how people should behave. They're like little predictions we make in our minds about how we want something or someone to be. You know the scenarios we create in our heads where everything is perfect, smooth and exactly as we imagined. But here's the catch Expectations don't always line up with reality. Sometimes things turn out differently than what we had hoped for or anticipated, and that's when disappointment sneaks in. So expectations are like these tricky mental projections that we create, and they can either make us feel elated when they're met or leave us feeling deflated when they're not. Now let's talk about a few places where we have expectations. In some instances we are intentional about these expectations, and other times they exist on more of a subconscious level. Have you ever stopped to consider where your expectations come from? Why do we sometimes have such high expectations for ourselves or for others? Well, it turns out that our expectations are strongly influenced by societal norms and our personal experiences. You see, we internalize the expectations of society and culture we grow up in. From a young age we learn what is expected of us in terms of behavior, appearance and achievement. These expectations often lead us to compare ourselves to others and we strive to meet these expectations, to be accepted and valued by our communities and family. But societal norms are not the only factor shaping our expectations. Our personal experience also plays a significant role. As we go through life, we have experience that shapes our mindset and perceptions about what is possible or desirable. These experiences also create expectations that we carry with us in our personal and professional lives. Let me give you an example. If you grew up in a family that placed a high value on academic achievement, you might internalize the belief that academic success is essential for happiness and fulfillment. You might feel pressure to excel in your studies. Even this isn't something you particularly are interested in, talented in or value. Alternatively, if you had a negative experience with failure early on in life, you may develop a fear of failure that leads you to shy away from taking risks in the future. So, as you see, societal norms and personal experiences can shape expectations in powerful ways. Being aware of where our expectations come from and examining them can help us determine whether they are realistic or harmful. Adjusting or reframing our expectations can also help us navigate disappointment more effectively. Let's talk about the fine line between realistic and unrealistic expectations. We all have them, but sometimes it can be challenging to distinguish between the two. Realistic expectations are grounded in reality. They take into account our abilities, limitations and the circumstances we are in. They are based on honest assessment of what is attainable and achievable. Realistic expectations allow us to set goals that are within our reach and have a higher probability of being met. On the other hand, unrealistic expectations are often fueled by wishful thinking, idealized visions or comparisons to others. They are not in line with our actual capabilities or the reality of our situation. These expectations set us up for disappointment because they are often impossible to achieve. Differentiating between the two can be challenging, but here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to determine if our expectations are realistic or unrealistic. Okay, number one is this expectation based on facts or just my desires? It's essential to consider if our expectations are grounded in reality or solely driven by our own wants and wishes. The second question have I achieved similar goals or expectations in the past? Reflecting on our past experiences can provide insight into whether our expectations are attainable, based on our track record. Number three are my expectations flexible? Realistic expectations often allow room for adjustments and adaptability. If our expectations are rigid and inflexible, it might be a sign that they are unrealistic. Number four am I setting the same expectation for others as I do myself? Comparing our expectations for ourselves with those we have for others can help us identify if our standards are realistic or unreasonably high. Remember, it's okay to have ambitious goals and aspirations, but being mindful of whether our expectations are grounded in reality can save us from unnecessary disappointment. By differentiating between realistic and unrealistic expectations, we can set ourselves up for more realistic outcomes and minimize the chances of feeling let down. It's about finding that balance and setting expectations that motivate us without setting ourselves up for failure. We really can't avoid experiencing disappointment at some point in our lives, but have you ever considered its impact on our connections with others and on our own personal development? Let's take a closer look. When we experience disappointment, it can have a significant impact on our relationship with others. Unmet expectations play a role. We may feel hurt, let down or even resentful towards the other person. These emotions can damage communication, trust and create distance between people. It's essential to address disappointment openly and honestly and give voice to our feelings and concerns. This allows for healthy communication and rebuilding of trust by understanding each other's perspectives. When we communicate our disappointment effectively, it opens the door for growth in our relationships. It offers both parties an opportunity to understand each other's expectations, explore compromises and work together towards stronger, more realistic foundations. On a personal level, disappointment can be a vital catalyst for growth. When our expectations aren't met, it can be a chance for self-reflection. It gives us a chance to examine our own mindset, beliefs and patterns of thinking that have contributed to those expectations. In the first place, it offers an opportunity to learn about ourselves and make adjustments for personal growth. Disappointment also challenges us to develop resilience, adaptability and emotional intelligence. It's essential to learn from disappointments and use them to shape better choices and actions in the future. By reflecting on our disappointments, we gain insights into our desires, strengths and areas for improvement, leading to self-discovery and personal growth. As we reflect on that, let's consider some other situations where expectations play a part Career expectations, achieving success and finding fulfillment. Relationship expectations, expecting that fairytale love and finding the perfect partner. Body image expectations, chasing that unattainable body shape ideals and body shaming. And the reason we're here today is the holiday gatherings Unrealistic expectations for joy, harmony and perfection as we wrap up our time together today, let me leave you with some tips and strategies for navigating disappointment that comes with unmet expectations. Number one cultivating self-awareness to manage expectations. You can do this by reflecting on past experiences. Take the time to reflect on those experiences where your expectations may not have been met and analyze what led to those expectations. What were the unexpected or unrealistic expectations and how did they affect your experience. Let me tell you how Sarah did this so you might apply something similar in your own life. During last year's holiday season, Sarah had high expectations for a perfect family gathering. She imagined everyone getting along, laughter filling the room and everyone enjoying a delicious meal together. However, things didn't go according to plan. Family members arrived late, tensions arose and arguments erupted over trivial matters. After the holiday season had passed, Sarah reflected on this experience to cultivate self-awareness for the upcoming one. She recognized that her high expectations of perfection and harmony were unrealistic and set the stage for disappointment. She realized she had placed responsibility on other people to make the holiday perfect, instead of focusing on her own role in creating a positive atmosphere. Sarah decided to approach the upcoming holiday season with a shift in her mindset. She recognized the importance of managing her own expectations and understanding that imperfections and disagreements are a natural part of family gatherings. She made a conscious effort to practice compassion and empathy towards her family members, Understanding that everyone has their personal struggles and dynamics. Through her reflections, Sarah also realized her need for open communication and setting realistic expectations for their family. Beforehand, she reached out to them, initiating conversations about what each person desired for the holiday and how they could collectively create a meaningful and joyful experience. With this newfound self-awareness and self-adjusted mindset. Sarah approached the holiday season with more flexible and accepting mindset. Her focus shifted from perfection to cherishing the moments of connection and appreciating the time she spent with loved ones, regardless of any minor imperfections or disagreements that may arise. Okay, here's your second tip Understanding your values. Understanding the role that your values play is an important step in developing self-awareness. Asking yourself what is important to you in different areas of your life, such as your work, your relationships and your own personal growth. This will help you identify the expectations that align with those values. Number three identify patterns. Look for patterns in your expectations, such as perfection and an all or nothing thinking. Identifying those patterns can help you understand how they may be contributing to unrealistic or unmet expectations. Number four practice mindfulness. Mindfulness practices like meditation can help you increase self-awareness and identify patterns in your thinking and behavior. This can help you recognize your expectations more easily and manage them more effectively. Number five practice realistic optimism. While it's important to set goals and have high aspirations, it's equally important to practice realistic optimism. This involves setting realistic expectations based on available resources and past experiences. By doing so, you can avoid setting yourself up for disappointment. Number six seek feedback. Getting feedback from others can help you identify areas where you may have unrealistic expectations. This can come from friends or family members, or even professionals like a coach or therapist. And number seven practice self-compassion. This might just be my favorite tip, because it's important to be kind to yourself when dealing with unmet expectations, Instead of beating yourself up. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes and experiences disappointment. This can help reduce negative feelings and increase confidence in your abilities. I want to challenge you today to reflect on your own expectations and find ways to manage them effectively. If you find yourself being overwhelmed this holiday season, take a step away and practice gratitude, looking for ways to find joy in the present moment. Remind yourself to focus on the journey and not the outcome. And finally, I'm going to leave you with a quote, because I haven't done that in quite a while. Expectations are like seeds we plant. With nurturing they grow, but let us remember they are not the only flowers in the garden of possibility. Author unknown. Until next time, my friends, please remember to take good care of you. Amanda, I don't know if this ever happens to you, but I sometimes will learn something really cool on a podcast, on a YouTube video, audiobook, whatever, I think. I'm going to remember it and then I forget. Does that ever happen to you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I call it brain after 40 all the time.

Speaker 2:

That's what we'll officially call it, but we've come up with something. Do you want to introduce it?

Speaker 3:

Sure, it's from an app called Quick Jim Quick and it's an acronym called FAST.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the F stands for Facebook. So we're inviting you officially right now to come over and join us on Facebook. Get involved with the community, share your favorite episodes with your friends on Facebook.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, the A is go ahead and take an action, so you can't remember anything if you don't act.

Speaker 2:

And S is for subscribe. Make sure you're subscribed to our YouTube channel.

Speaker 3:

And then T is teach. Teach what you've learned to somebody else. Share the love.

Speaker 2:

All right, we hope that works for you. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next week.

Speaker 3:

Bye, bye.

Managing Expectations
Understanding and Managing Disappointment and Expectations