When you anticipate something happening, the expectation can be thrilling. It might take the form of butterflies in your stomach, or that feeling like you could simply burst out of your skin, or you just cannot keep still. The expectation of the happening just makes you nervous and giddy and totally uncertain.
When it goes as expected, it’s like the world comes rushing in and the satisfaction is simply exquisite.
When it does NOT go as expected, the disappointment can be soul crushing.
How do you mitigate disappointment from expectations, without expecting less?
Remember to remember
Everybody has experienced this at some point in their life. You were so excited expecting that birthday gift form your parents, or the Christmas or Hanukkah gift from your grandma — and when you opened it, you were like, whaaaaaaaaaaaat? What’s this crap? Where’s my *insert expectation here*?
Then, because you were not a brat (hopefully) and didn’t want your parents/grandma to be disappointed, you were all like, “Thank you, this is great” and had to swallow the disappointment down.
It’s entirely possible that this turned into a simple lesson about gratitude…but that doesn’t mitigate how you were expecting to feel, nor the disappointment in not feeling it.
Rather than expecting less, remembering how this felt before can help mitigate the expectation. When that giddy, nervous anticipation of an expectation hits, take hold of it, become mindful of it. Embrace it — but like any other thought or feeling, release it.
Remembering how it felt when your expectation turned to disappointment, without expecting less, you can release some of that expectant energy. This, in turn, can calm and center you, and help you to be less disappointed if it doesn’t turn out as anticipated.
Expectation is neutral
The feeling of expectation is neither good nor bad. It’s a neutral experience that we turn into something good or bad.
You have also likely had the opposite expectation of the thrilling version of expectation: the terrifying version. It also might take the form of butterflies in your stomach, or that feeling like you could simply burst out of your skin, or you just cannot keep still. The expectation of the happening just makes you nervous and agitated and totally uncertain.
When it goes as expected, it’s like the world comes rushing in and the disappointment hurts.
When it does NOT go as expected, the relief can be simply exquisite.
The feeling of a good expectation versus a bad expectation of something is extremely similar. Mindfulness can help you mitigate the expectation by recognizing that your fear of an expectation going badly is probably much worse than what ACTUALLY will go down. Being mindful gives you the tools of influence and control over your thoughts and feelings to not expect incredible horrors, and be more balanced and reasonable.
Mindfulness is also the key to mitigating disappointment when a positive expectation doesn’t go as anticipated.
You have the power
You are the only one inside your head. Nobody else thinks or feels for you. Ergo, you have the ability to temper or mitigate your thoughts and feelings.
Expectation, in particular, is rather like grief, in that it’s not simply an emotion, but a unique combination of thought and feeling. There is an idea of the thing you are anticipating, and the expectation is built off of the idea and notion that then is fueled by feeling. Further, the sensation of expectation arises from deep within, so when it hits, you haven’t any initial influence or control.
But that’s where mindfulness comes in. Expectation is built off a subconscious impression. That’s part of why it can be rather complicated in how it makes you think and feel. Becoming aware of this through mindfulness, however, pulls it out of the subconscious and into your conscious mind.
When you are aware you gain the ability to temper the expectation and mitigate both the potential hurt and potential disappointment.
Mitigating disappointment from expectation, like so many other things in this life, is a matter of mindfulness. When you are more aware of what’s inside your own head, you can better influence and control where you are going in your life, and how your expectation impacts you.