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Expectations Are Not Obligations January 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People.

220px-TaleofPeterRabbit8Some people get annoyed when their expectations aren’t met.

As if their expectations gave rise to a corresponding obligation on the recipient’s part.

Silly rabbits!

Life doesn’t work that way.

Expectations are nothing but fluff and stuff, based on mere opinions about how the world “should” be.

And, for the more grandiose among us, how it would be . . .

“If only people would consult with us before acting like poorly educated baboons, dearth of common sense.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it. ~ Edith Sitwell



1. Jill Weatherholt - January 11, 2016

Silly rabbit indeed!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Or as Bugs would say, “Uh . . . what’s up, doc?” :mrgreen:

2. anotherday2paradise - January 11, 2016

Dame Edith’s quote sits very well with me. 😀

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Isn’t that quote great?

Worth keeping in our tool bag, just in case, on the rarest of occasions, we bump into “haughty stupidity.” 🙄

3. suzicate - January 11, 2016

Expectations can definitely set one up for disappointment!
The bottom quote is right on!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Exactly. Instead of expecting others to do what we want them to do, we can let go of our expectations. Et voila!

Now, no matter what they do or don’t, they have no power over us.

4. NancyTex - January 11, 2016

Sitwell is a better woman than I am. I have no patience for stupidity. 🙂

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Uh-oh . . . “stupid” is everywhere.

Being perpetually impatient with others doesn’t bode well for our blood pressure and stress levels. :mrgreen:

NancyTex - January 11, 2016

Which explains everything.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016
5. Mel Morfitt - January 11, 2016

“Expectations are nothing but fluff and stuff, based on mere opinions about how the world “should” be.”

…according to THEIR world. 🙂 My world has its own heart.
Great post!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Thanks, Mel. I woke up feeling Tiggeriffic today . . . I am bouncing around with a perpetual grin on my face.

For NO reason. Just because being here is making me smile.

If I could bottle this feeling . . . I’d make millions!

6. Val Boyko - January 11, 2016

Thanks to you and Edith Sitwell for sharing this important message to the monkeys out there!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

My pleasure, Val. Our expectations are desires . . . the root of all suffering.

7. Under the Oaks - January 11, 2016

“Expectations are nothing but fluff and stuff”… so true!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Yes! Attempting to satisfy Ego is futile ~ Ego is a mask, a ghost; it can never be satisfied.

With no Ego to “expect” anything, we ride the crest of the now with bliss as our constant companion. We desire only what we already possess. We expect nothing.

Here. Now. Just Be.

8. William D'Andrea - January 11, 2016

It depends of what you’re expecting, and who you’re expecting it from.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Hmm . . . I’m not seeing it. Maybe you could give me an example?

William D'Andrea - January 11, 2016

You should expect to receive my reply tomorrow morning.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

OK. But don’t feel any obligation . . . 😛

William D'Andrea - January 12, 2016

Your reply makes me feel obligated to say that I think you and I might make a good comedy team. You’re not obligated.

nrhatch - January 12, 2016

Your comment isn’t at all what I expected! 😀

9. Kate Crimmins - January 11, 2016

I have a friend who thinks we are alike. We are the same sex and age but it ends there. I like hot and spice. She likes plain and bland. I like activity. She likes TV. I could go on and on. Doesn’t matter to me as long as we can connect on something but she gets upset when I don’t “do, say, eat, agree or whatever.” Just this past weekend I came to the conclusion that she’s too much work. We’ve been friends for about 12 years but she doesn’t know me because her expectations and assumptions get in the way. Sigh.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Yes!!! That’s the perfect example, Kate.

She feels you’re obligated to meet her expectations. She gets upset when you don’t. She thinks it’s YOUR behavior that’s the problem ~> if you would only do what she wants you to do, when she wants you to do it, everything would be grand. (And it would be great. For her. But not for you.)

People like that don’t see us because they’re wearing blinders.

P.S., If ever we meet face to face, let’s strap on our sneaks and go for a walk and talk . . . with our eyes and hears wide open

Kate Crimmins - January 11, 2016

That’s a date but I will want pizza at the end.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Me too! 😀

10. Katie Todora - January 11, 2016

I expect nothing from others…..mine are prayers, wishes and hope for those I love in particular, and in general for all….nothing I ever expected happened! However I have been surprised by life in so many wonderful ways!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Go you! Sounds like you have your Ego firmly in check . . . so it doesn’t steal your peace of mind.

11. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - January 11, 2016

I took time off over the holidays that I never take, but I needed the break, and it was my boss’s turn to work… and I came back and by day 2 I had to tell him that I was readjusting because not as much got done as I expected. He wasn’t obligated to meet my expectations, but I still had them! LOL – and he did end up confessing that he took one of the days off instead of working!

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Haha! The boss is goofing off! Good for you for addressing your concerns with him.

I didn’t really write this with the workplace in mind. Contracts (even at will employment contracts) do give rise to enforceable obligations. When we hire someone, we expect a day’s work for a day’s pay and they expect a day’s pay for a day’s work. And courts are willing to enforce those contractual obligations.

That said, employees aren’t “obligated” to meet our expectations unless, of course, they want to remain on the payroll. :mrgreen:

12. Carol Ferenc - January 11, 2016

So true! The older I get, the fewer expectations I hold onto and that works for me.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

In recent weeks, I’ve been on both sides of this chasm:

(1) expecting something that wasn’t forth-coming, and
(2) not delivering something that someone else expected.

In both cases, unfulfilled desires created unnecessary suffering.

Once we let go of the desire to control others by insisting that they meet our expectations, our lives become far more peaceful.

Carol Ferenc - January 11, 2016

Yes, either scenario can be awful.

13. L. Marie - January 11, 2016

I agree with this, Nancy. And might I add that since no one is a mind reader, none of us can be expected to meet unvoiced expectations also.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

OMG . . . yes! That’s a whole nother blog post right there.

14. Behind the Story - January 11, 2016

Too many people think the world should conform to their expectations in every detail. It’s fine to recognize problems, especially when it’s within your ability to do something about them. But there’s no sense getting angry with things you can’t do anything about. Surveys show that Americans are angry this year. I wonder: Could they have framed their survey questions differently? Certainly everyone can think of things that can be improved and ways they would like to see them changed, but do they have to be angry about it? Gratitude for what is goes a long way.

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Surveys are often poorly worded . . . not giving people the option to say what they really want to say.

I try not to hang on to anger (or unmet expectations) ~ since both hurt me not “them.”

15. diannegray - January 11, 2016

I realised at some stage in my life that people love control. Those who can’t control themselves are often the biggest instigators of control over other people. I find it hard not to live up to the expectation of others, but if those expectations are hypocritical or outlandish – I’m out. Great post, Nancy 😀

nrhatch - January 11, 2016

Thanks, Dianne. I rarely feel obligated to meet “unreasonable” expectations. E.g., I went to a collage class this week . . . for FUN, not for academic credit. The presenter got annoyed b/c I didn’t follow her instructions to the letter.

She wanted me to imbue certain images with significance, claiming that my “sub-conscious” had chosen them “for a reason.” I told her I hadn’t focused on the specific images, just their color (PURPLE). She ignored me and insisted that I needed to discern what my sub-conscious was telling me about the images themselves, not just their color.

She failed to convince me. :mrgreen:

diannegray - January 12, 2016

OMG – I love the way someone tries to tell you what your sub-conscious is trying to tell you. ARGH!

nrhatch - January 13, 2016

I know, right? She had everyone in the room analyzing their images for subliminal messages about minutiae . . . it was crazy!

But I came home with some gorgeous PURPLE images. :mrgreen:

16. jannatwrites - January 12, 2016

I think problems arise when we start expecting others to think or behave as we do because that just sets us up for conflict. Stupidity is something I have little patience with (and I’ve dealt with lots of it over the last year… still am) but I’ve learned that if I find myself muttering about how someone is stupid… and I’ve said this about multiple people… I might want to check the mirror 🙂

nrhatch - January 12, 2016

Haha! Yes, me too. Stupid is as stupid does. 😛

When we allow ourselves to get annoyed with the “what is,” we are putting the key to our happiness in someone else’s pocket.

17. Debra - January 15, 2016

This is actually kind of a new thought to me, so it’s a great post to read. Over the holidays I started to think about expectations in the context of realizing that some people have “play books,” and when I didn’t know their rules–their expectations–there were some hurt feelings. It has made me think about whether or not I do the same to others…I’m a work in progress on this I think! 🙂

nrhatch - January 15, 2016

I expect that most of us are a WIP! But you’re not obligated to agree. 😀 A few thoughts:

(1) If we expect Y to give us X and Y complies, we might never notice our expectations arising and being fulfilled because we got what we wanted. It doesn’t mean our expectations are ipso facto “reasonable” ~> Y might have complied because our expectations are aligned with Y’s interests (Y wants something from us) or because Y wants to give us what we want (Y loves us) or because Y doesn’t want us to get bent out of shape (like the last time!) or because Y always goes along to get along or . . .

If we always get what we want, it’s up to us to police ourselves.

(2) If we expect Y to give us X and Y fails to comply, we are apt to notice the sting of disappointment or a flash of anger or disapproval. That’s the signal that our expectations may not be aligned with Y’s interests. At that point, we can continue to insist that Y do what we want Y to do when we want Y to do it. OR . . . we can modify our expectations and “mind our own business” without trying to force others to comply with our view of the world.

When we stop expecting others to do what we want them to do, we no longer have to wait to see if they do or don’t.

They have no power over us. Aah . . . bliss!

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