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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Expectation Blues

One of the greatest causes of stress and unhappiness in childhood is unrealistic expectations.  The tendency to expect the unrealistic follows us into adulthood and is the cause of needless frustration.  The list of assumptions upon which unrealistic expectations are based is almost endless:  assumptions can be made which leave out important realities such as the degree to which others are willing to accept our plans, the degree to which others are able to effectively deliver our expectations, the degree to which we are prepared to cope with consequences, the degree to which conditions such as health, weather, political or economic readiness are amenable, the degree to which the unexpected including accidents can occur, the degree to which technology is available, the degree to which delay and troubleshooting will be necessary, the degree to which money is available.  A central indicator of maturity is to recognize that the realization of expectations can require understanding, extensive planning and preparation, patience, and sometimes, in the end, denial.  Frequently the timing is not right.  Learning when to voice our expectations in the face of numerous complexities becomes a sign of wisdom.  A child wants fulfillment of their expectations immediately.  A mature adult, even in the express check-out line at Publix, realizes that unexpected delays should not come as surprises. 

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