I’ve always struggled with disappointment from unmet expectations. I’m still on the journey of learning to accept things I can’t change because I’m hardwired to make things better. Since I can’t control all the variables that affect my expectations of what “better” looks like, should I give up hoping for it?
The Difference between Hope and Expectation
Hope is a positive feeling that originates within. It is related to a desire that something might happen. Expectation is a similar desire but primarily depends on others to be fulfilled. An example would be hoping someone will attend your party versus expecting her to come and then being upset when she doesn’t.
How to Avoid Disappointment
In her newest book Atlas of the Heart, Brené Brown identifies a way to reduce disappointment while remaining hopeful: examining and expressing our expectations. When we share the movie playing in our heads about how we want something to go, people have a better chance of meeting our expectations.
I invite you to examine your expectations and share them with others. Then let go of those expectations and hold onto hope. As my coach Grace Durfee suggests, “Leave room for something better to happen by not getting too fixed on your desired outcome.”