Low Expectations

A few summers ago I was given the most unexpected advice of my life. We were celebrating my aunt's and uncle's wedding anniversaries (I have two sets and we were celebrating both sets) and asked them what advice they had for everyone on having a long and happy marriage. Among things like "say I love you" and "remember to say please and thank you" my aunt came up with something incredible that I have tried to remember in all aspects of my life. It sounds crazy, but once explained it makes a lot of sense.

"Low expectations."

She said it almost immediately and we all burst out with nervous laughter not quite sure how to respond. But she just smiled, and explained to us that if she didn't expect my uncle to be home at 5 o'clock ready to have dinner and spend time together, she wasn't disappointed when he had to work late, or things didn't go according to plan.

I've given the same advice to my friends who have gotten married and regularly try to remind myself that the only reason why I'm upset or feeling disappointed may be that my expectations were too high. I don't want you to think that what I'm saying is that you should settle. That is not at all what I think of when I think "low expectations".

I like to think of it more as communication advise and ultimately a communication goal. If I never express my expectations for a day or an event, how can I legitimately expect other people to have the same expectations?

Since leaving my job at the jewelry store, I've managed to be working three different jobs. So when I'm not working, I want to spend my time enjoying my life and the people in it. This past week I only had one day off of work so I had been looking forward to it all week. The problems arose when I didn't express my excitement or expectations that my day off would include a dinner date and hike or some other type of fun activity with my PIC.

From the moment the day started, things didn't go as planned and I ended up feeling grumpy and let down all day. Had I lowered my expectations that things would go perfectly (because lesbihonest, they never do) and communicated what my expectations were more clearly, I probably would have had a much better day.

It's hard to take your own advise sometimes and even harder to admit that you might be the one that caused your bad day. But the amazing thing is that it's actually easier than letting it ruin the rest of your day, or night, or starting a fight over the fact that someone didn't do something they didn't know you wanted them to do.

So next time you're having a bad day and everything seems like its going wrong, ask yourself about your expectations for the day. Were they realistic? Does anyone but you know that they're your expectations?

Food for thought...