When was the last time you got home from work, after a long day and expected dinner to be cooked, or the rubbish taken out? Do you expect your friends to call and stay in contact regularly? Or maybe you expected to get that promotion and pay rise, after the additional hours and hard work you’ve put in. Maybe you had an expectation that Friday was date night with your partner leading to sensual sex, that your mum would babysit to give you a break, or that your friend would check in when you’re sick to show they cared. Expectations can kill a relationship. Let me explain why…
Words by YK Daily's resident life coach Amira Mansour @the_communicationexpert
We all see the world through our own lens, in a way that makes sense to us. And for the most part we tend to think that our ‘lens’ is right, particularly if someone doesn’t see a situation in the same way. Our perception of the world is formed from the experiences we’ve had in childhood and the behaviour we’ve witnessed through role models. This doesn’t mean that it can’t change.
But it often leads to insight, into why we have the expectations that we do. Your unmet expectations didn’t happen overnight so if you compare where you’re at now, to the beginning, I’m pretty sure you’ll notice the change. It’s a gradual shift that happens over time until you realise this simply isn’t working.
Your expectations are based on what you think the future ‘should’ look like, but are actually very much out of your control. The more your expectations continue to be unfulfilled, the more the resentment can build. I’m certainly not saying go through your entire life without any expectations but I want you to ask yourself 2 questions:
Is my expectation realistic and how is it serving me? For example, do you expect your partner to react and behave in the same way as you? Do you expect them to digest information as quickly as you do?
Have I communicated my expectations and how did I do this?
It’s a skill to learn how to have powerful conversations, sharing your expectations without walking away feeling disheartened, or that it didn’t go in the way you wanted it to. So I’m sharing my 3 steps for you to learn to communicate in your relationships at work, with your partner, with your kids or with your friends:
I cannot shout this any louder, but you have got to broadcast your expectations – think road signs or a Beats speaker. You must make it clear what your needs are. The other person is not a mind reader, so most of the time will not even be aware of what your expectation of a situation is. Once you’ve identified your expectation, it’s important to give the other person an opportunity to digest this information. This then offers them a clearer insight into your world and what’s important to you.
Make a conscious choice to appreciate the other person’s values, even at work with your boss. This doesn’t mean you’re undermining what’s important to you, but you’re shifting your energy from despair and frustration, to appreciation and patience.
In relationships that are long term, yes that means your boss and friends too, it’s about committing to ongoing conversations. One conversation isn’t usually going to create change. But it’s a start. Your expectations may shift, or you may not be able to grasp that you weren’t considered for the promotion you thought you were perfect for, it’s through these conversations that you’ll get to value the other person’s perspective, and hopefully they’ll be able to do the same.
It isn’t always easy if you haven’t had these conversations before, but with time you’ll learn. Additionally, if you’re feeling apprehensive, ask yourself, what’s the cost of not communicating your expectations?
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