Charles Dickens’ book, “Great Expectations,” is one of my favorite books. Through the life of Pip, the reader experiences the lessons of having expectations of oneself and others.
Expectations come from those placed on us by others, from what we expect of others, or what we expect of ourselves. A parent raises a child with expectations of certain behaviors. An employer has certain job expectations from each employee.
Expectations become problematic when we only focus on how things “should” be and how the people around us “should” act and feel. When we place too many “should’s” on ourselves, we can become depressed and lose sight of who we truly are.
If we lived in a perfect world, expectations would only be for ourselves and based on our inner gifts and personalities. However, the world and people are not perfect.
I recently turned 80-years-old, and I unfairly expected my family to “surprise” me with a celebration. How very wrong and unfair that was. I was thinking of me, not them, not Covid, not the costs, and so forth.
Just like Pip, I had an important lesson to learn.
God taught me to appreciate the fact that I had metaphorically 80 candles on the cake; be grateful for each person in my life, and celebrate the love and well-being of each friend and family member.
As it turns out, I had a wonderful birthday celebrating it with friends one evening before the big day. I received birthday cards with personal messages that touched me deeply. Several of my gynecologic cancer sisters and their care partners surprised me at a luncheon with gifts, cards, a cake, and a birthday tiara placed on my head.
The best way to avoid having expectations of others and unfair ones for ourselves, is to focus on our dreams. Have goals, take the steps to achieve, while keeping our eyes on the dream. As so beautifully said: