Expectations…what a huge role they play in our lives. You’ve just booked a weekend at what looks to be a lovely B&B online. You’ve perused the photos, read the reviews and all seems great. Then you get there and you’re so disappointed. It may not even be that bad, but if it doesn’t live up to your expectations, it can ruin the whole experience.
Or you’re looking forward to seeing the latest greatest Oscar nominated movie that everyone is talking about (maybe it even won the award). All you’ve heard about it is how fabulous it is and your expectations soar. But, in your opinion, once you see it, the movie just doesn’t live up to all the hype and you’re disappointed. This happens to me all the time!
I’ve had a couple of tag sales over the years, always with the expectation that whatever I could sell and whatever money I made would be wonderful. I’ve always had “successful” sales. A friend of mine had her own tag sale recently and said she’d never do it again. I asked why and she complained that everyone nickel and dimed her and wanted to pay much less than things were marked. She expected to make much more money than she did and her earlier expectations negated any positive outcome of the sale.
I find that expectations can also play havoc with our relationships, including the one with our mothers. If our expectations don’t match the other person’s behavior, we’re disappointed and often hurt feelings and even a fight can ensue. We’re better off trying to be realistic in our expectations so that we don’t end up feeling let down.
You know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”? And the quote from Albert Einstein about the definition of insanity….“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Well, this is kind of what I’m talking about here…needing to learn from past behavior and not getting caught up in expecting different outcomes from the same circumstance. Sure, people can change (even your mom) but chances are they’re not going to, especially if their patterns are well established and ingrained over years and years. If you expect things to be different “this time,” chances are you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
So, in dealing with your mom, it may be helpful to look at the patterns that make up your interactions. Do you keep expecting her to change her behavior? Or do you expect her to be someone she’s not (like Carol Brady)? Are you continually disappointed, frustrated, angry, maybe even hurt? Changing your expectations may actually give her a chance to surprise you…which she just may do if you change the pattern of your interactions!
Your mom probably can’t or won’t change. Can you try to stop expecting her to? Can you try to accept that she is who she is? This may help. You can’t control her, but you can control your own behavior and reactions. So, take control, adjust your expectations and hopefully have a more peaceful and less stressful relationship with your mom. Works for me (usually)!