In the search for true happiness, it appears we need to look at the things in our lives that cause the opposite. What upsets us? What makes us unhappy?
There are a million answers to these questions. Different strokes for different folks, right? Well… kind of. It seems that at the core of all of it is one simple concept: Unmet Expectations.
Think about it: the last time you got upset it was probably because someone did not do what you expected them to do, or because something did not behave as you expected it to. Maybe you even let yourself down by not doing something as well as you expected to. The kids didn’t do their homework even though you expected them to, your spouse did not help with the dishes even though you expected them to show their appreciation for dinner by pitching in. You didn’t get as much done today as you had expected.
Fine. So the experts tell us to let go of unrealistic expectations and turn them into “would be nice’s” instead. As in, I don’t expect everyone to live up to my standards of neatness around the house, even though it would be nice if they did. It takes the pressure off so we don’t get so upset when life doesn’t live up to expectations.
But…(yeah, you knew there was a ‘But’ coming…)
I want to know how to tell the difference between unrealistic expectations and ones that are acceptable. Because I gotta tell you, at this rate the world is teaching me not to have any expectations at all, of anyone.
I think I had been pondering this for a while but the whole question came into focus after I watched “Did You Hear About The Morgans?” over the weekend. [SPOILER ALERT. SORT OF. AFTER ALL THE MOVIE IS SOMEWHAT PREDICTABLE.]
Hugh Grant apologises to SJP at one point because he “…almost cured an incurable romantic…” (her). He goes on to say that from now on he will do his best to met her expectations, blah blah blah. Translated, does that mean a person who has expectations of other people is out of touch with reality? Someone to be indulged for their little fantasies?
From what I gathered in the scenes leading up to this, he disappointed her by not telling her he was unsure about them having a baby when she was having fertility treatment, followed by him cheating on her.
Personally, I don’t think honesty and fidelity should be viewed as unrealistic expectations.
Okay, perhaps this movie is not exactly the best place for me to be looking for the answers to life’s questions, but you get the picture.
Surely there are certain basic things we can expect from the people around us? Do I really not have a right to expect my spouse to tell me that he won’t be home for dinner, or the kids to wipe the kitchen counter after they’ve spilled on it? I would have thought these things were simple common courtesy, and is it wrong to expect common courtesy from the ones who love us?
Apparently it is. Because what I am being led to believe is that when I get upset because my husband does not call to say he won’t be on the 8 o’clock train and then only gets home at midnight, it is actually my fault. I should not have expected him to be that considerate.
If this is the case, then I think I need to go right back to the beginning and start again, because I must have missed some basic life lessons.
Am I the only one who finds this to be a terribly cynical way to live?
Or did Cynical become Fashionable and someone forget to tell me?