We all have expectations, but sometimes they can come back and bite us. We want something, we think we’ll get it, but then we don’t. We’re left feeling disappointed, perhaps angry and hurt. In recovery we need to have hope, reach out to people and live fully. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues, family and friends are not on the same page.

We might think they should anticipate our needs, desires, wishes or basic wants. For one thing, people are not mind readers. If we don’t express what we want, how will they know? Telling people what we want is one way to avoid feeling let down or hurt. What about when we think it is obvious what we need, or what would be appropriate for an occasion, like our birthday? How do we then manage our expectations?

A couple went out to dinner on the 40th anniversary. The waiter came by and asked them what was their trick for the longevity of their marriage. They both replied at the same time, “Low expectations!” Of course this is a humorous example, but it has a ring of truth in it. We need to take care of and be responsible for our own happiness—we can’t expect others to do it for us.

In order to manage our expectations, we need to consider the source. If our spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, parents, children, whomever, has disappointed us in the past, then it’s probably a good idea to carefully weigh any expectations we have with them in the future. It’s not about putting up a guard, it’s about being realistic. He’s a great dad, mother or spouse in so many ways, but when I’m sick, it seems he doesn’t want to take care with me. The truth maybe simple. He or she is not a good caregiver. That’s not his forte, but in certain cases it doesn’t mean he or she gets off the hook.

If our expectations are reasonable, and we can’t get any of our needs met, then we might want to consider marriage counseling or even getting out of the relationship. Again, we are responsible for our own happiness. Our job is to communicate effectively, live and let live, consider the source, and don’t set ourselves up for disappointment. Maybe this year my boss will give me my well-deserved raise, or my spouse with give me flowers on my birthday. Ask yourself if you are being truthful with yourself, and if your expectations are realistic.

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, get help now. Nexus Recovery Services specializes in addiction treatment and encompasses holistic therapy for the mind, body, and soul with a focus on staying active and connected to nature. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life of sobriety. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Call us to get started: (310) 881-9151

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