The Fallacy of Expectations

Rewind 10 years to 2011, my son was leaving for college and I was having 2 thoughts as he drove away.

  1. His life is on an upward trajectory and mine is on the downward.
  2. I better make the most of the next 10 years because after that I’ll be old and my life will be over. 

Melodramatic much? 

Along with that hyperbolic thinking, I had a ton of expectations about how the next 10 years would look. 

  • Expectation 1: My then-husband and I would retire early, spend the next 10 years traveling, and enjoying our empty nest. 
  • Reality 1: Our marriage fell apart and we divorced.

  • Expectation 2: I’d spend time enjoying my home that I’d remolded from the studs up.
  • Reality 2: My ex-husband’s new wife now lives in that house.
  • Expectation 3: I’d spend more time in my home state visiting my life-long friends and my mother.
  • Reality 3: My mother died suddenly of aggressive liver cancer and a pandemic hit. I haven’t been back to Mississippi in 3 years. 
  • Expectation 4: My life would be much the same as it had been previous to 2011 with the exceptions listed above. 
  • Reality 4: Again, see above plus, I moved across the country to start over alone in a place where I knew no one. I did get to do the traveling I expected only I did that alone as well and ended up living abroad for 3 months. 

What’s my point? Many of us have expectations and rightly so, but it’s how we respond when those expectations don’t pan out that makes or breaks us. 

Yes, when my expectations listed above fell apart, I experienced all the normal emotions that come when life turns in unwanted ways. There were times when I thought I’d get stuck there, but thankfully I had the tools I’d learned from being a coach for 15 years that allowed me to 

  1. process that emotion
  2. make a new plan 
  3. move forward without dwelling on how it SHOULD have been.

I have worked with numerous clients to do the same. One recent client came to coaching holding a twelve-year grudge against her mother. She has learned the steps to let it go, freeing herself and her mother to recreate their relationship.

Are your unmet expectations holding you back? Let me help you finally move on. Contact me to get started today.