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Day 11 – Expectations

Day 11 – Expectations
Day 11 – Expectations

I’ve learned over time to keep a watch on my expectations. When I get my expectations too high, chances are good that I will get hurt. Or, to put it another way, expectations are premeditated resentments.

A good example of this happened this past weekend. My brother is 2 years ahead of me in sobriety, and every year he comes to see me on, or before, my sobriety birthday. We go out for supper to celebrate, and he or my sister-in-law pass along their medallion to me. For example, my brother and sister-in-law both celebrated 5 years in December. This year they will pass their 3-year medallion on to me. It’s a special tradition we share.

When I hadn’t heard anything from him on Friday, I assumed he forgot, or was planning on coming after my birthday. But, I still had high expectations. It was all about me, and my birthday. I didn’t stop to think that maybe they had something else going on this past weekend. I didn’t stop to think that maybe they decided to postpone the trip because of the weather (they live 2 hours away). I only thought about what I wanted.

Thankfully I’ve been in the Steps long enough to recognize where my thinking was going. I recognized that I was being a selfish brat. And, I checked myself. It hasn’t always worked like that though.

Back when I was drinking, I always had high expectations. And then, when you let me down, I could drink and feel sorry for myself because you were such a horrible person, and how could you do that to me. It was always me, me, me.

Something that took a long time for me to realize is, I’m a selfish person, and I am a taker. I always thought I was a giving person, always there for everyone, and always put myself last. What I came to realize is, I gave with conditions. I will do X thing for you, but I expect something in return. And when you don’t give something in return, I will stop talking to you.

Or, I expect you to act a certain way, and when you don’t act the way I expect you to act, I will have a reason to hate you. Coming to that realization flipped me upside down, and it was a hard pill to swallow.

That is where most of my resentments come from today. My expectations are too high. I expect something to happen the way I want it to, or expect someone to act the way I want them to. When I get hurt, it is my job to look at my actions, and see the part I played. To see that yes, I did get my expectations too high in that situation, and take the necessary actions to correct my mistake.

Today, I try not to get my expectations too high. That’s not to say that I expect less of myself and others, I just try to make those expectations more reasonable, and feasible. I don’t ask someone to do something that I myself am not willing to do. By practicing that principle, I am a lot happier.

Originally published January 17, 2017 – medium.com

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