Someone whom I was looking forward to meeting today just called and cancelled. What I thought would be a good afternoon just went up in smoke. Disappointed expectations.
What happens for you when people don’t do what you wanted or expected? Do you feel let down, angry, disappointed – or cynical?
Think about all those times when people didn’t do what you hoped or expected or show up in the way you thought they would. A girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you. A work-colleague let you down badly over some support you were expecting. A friend persistently fails to show up in the way you would like. A parent didn’t come to read you your bed-time story even though he or she had promised to.
Would you even have a long-term memory of a let-down? Such memories affect us even now. I can remember a “game” me and my friends played as children. It was called “chucking you out.” Every now and again one of us would get chucked out of the house we were playing together in. How horrible children can be to one another!
How horrible can adults be to one another too!
So, have you got the feeling of it yet?
From a personal development perspective, this is all about disappointed expectations. Having expectations about another’s behaviour and judging them accordingly. At times the pain of it can be great, which is why it is hard to let go of. To use self-awareness is to learn to spot when this is occurring. Who knows what was going on for that person that they didn’t show up? Maybe my friend had something else urgent that came up (this is true in this case). What we are left with is our feelings. Again, from a personal development perspective, it is to take responsibility for the feelings and not let them run us, and then let go of the upset. And let go of blame and resentment.
Learning how to become aware in this way, to spot what’s happening and to take responsibility for the reaction (it’s a “re-action” – a repeat of an old reaction) takes us time and practice. But you need the awareness in the first place.