Think about the last time you were angry. The last time I got angry, well, you don't want all the details, but what it boiled down to was unmet expectations. I had expected the day to go a certain way, and not only did it not turn out the way I pictured, but it went differently than Scott (my husband) had pictured, too. So he was crabby, I was crabby, I resented his crabbiness, and I'm sure he wasn't too pleased with mine.
This is my new bandwagon, and some of you have heard me talk about it, because I'm really beating this drum lately. We have to verbalize our expectations. And, we have to ask others to do it, too. I think unmet expectations, or unreasonable expectations are at the root of most conflicts. And I think this goes for big lofty dreamy types of expectations, and even everyday piddly things.
Here's why I need to verbalize my expectations:
1. It helps me identify what I'm hoping for. Sometimes I don't even know until I force myself to really think it through, and that's an important step. How can you get what you want if you dont even know what that is? Making myself figure it out and say it out loud will get me closer to getting what I want. A piddly kind of example: If everyone in the house knows I am hoping (and working) to keep the living room clean, I'm less likely to have my doings un-done. If no one knows this is a goal for me, they might just keep on living in that living room (the nerve!) and I will come along after and get all huffy and feel unappreciated.
2. It helps me recognize which expectations are reasonable and which aren't. I might come to that realization on my own, or it might take someone else (Scott, for example) to say, "that's not going to happen." Sometimes as I am putting words to my expectations, I can see how ridiculous they are.
3. It helps those around me encourage me, and understand my motivations. We can all be on the same team, and know what we're all shooting for. An example: Scott and I took a fabulous, and I mean it was incredibly fabulous, trip to Italy this summer with two other couples. We did a lot of planning, and one of the things that I think helped make the trip great was that all six of us thought about and put down on paper three things that we really wanted to see or do on the trip. We tried to make sure everyone got what they wanted. Did we all want to do the same things? No. Did we mind doing something for one of the others? No, because we all were getting what we wanted. (another thing that made the trip great was that the other Julie was a mad-woman on the internet. She spent countless hours researching places to stay, things to do and see. We are truly indebted to her.)
So, something I'm working on. Boy, did this get long. Sorry. It's probably time for you to get off the computer now.