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The Daily Jedi: Lower your expectations

Posted 06-01-2017 at 03:48 PM by Johno1967

"I seek a great warrior" - Luke Skywalker

Expectations can often be our worst enemy. When Luke Skywalker crash lands on to Dagobah he seeks out a great warrior, a Jedi Master who will teach him how to be a Jedi. When he encounters Yoda he becomes impatient, brash and rude and eventually it dawns on him that this little annoying old Goblin like creature is indeed the Jedi Master he seeks.

Luke had an expectation, an idea of what a Jedi Master should look like and that prejudice blinded him from reality. Often reality does not meet our expectations, we hold a certain perception of how others should act or appear, how things should be and are disappointed when they don’t make the grade we expect. Very often it is not what is that is the problem but simply our perception of it, in turn our expectations are incorrect.

When I joined the Army I had a certain illusion of what it would be like and imagined that my expectations would be met. I imagined I would become a member of an elite and a “man among men”. The reality sort of fell short of the mark mainly because of my own poor choices but because the reality of service is different to what I thought it would be. I became disillusioned. One of the most common reasons many choose not to re-enlist was because service and deployment was not what they had expected. Many feel conned. What were they expecting?

As an alcoholic I always expected that one day I could get a handle on my drinking and control it. I had began drinking because I expected it would make me more fun, likable, sociable, one of the guys and attractive to the opposite sex. The reality again was much different and I wore the consequences of my drunken sprees like medals of shame.

When I got sober I also thought that all my problems in life would be miraculously resolved and then I realized that not drinking was only part of the solution. I also had to identify my faults and personal flaws, confront the past and make amends. I had to stop feeling like the world owed me and should treat me better because I was sober and accept that life was going to treat me like any other normal person. My expectations of sobriety were skewed and prejudiced by my own false perceptions of self and others. After some insight and rude reminders of my many character faults, I learned to adjust my expectations and start being realistic.

Ask yourself, what are your expectations at this moment? Consider everything, your job, relationships, health, finances and plans in general. Are they realistic? What influence do you have on others, potential external influence and ultimately outcomes? Identify what is in and outside of your control. Does it really matter if your expectations are not met?

The rule is to be objective and to make plans but never project outcomes. Very often our expectations get ahead of us and we end up disappointed in the outcomes therefore perspectives need to be adjusted if we are to have realistic expectations.

We also need to be agile and flexible enough to absorb the unexpected and often difficult moments in our lives with poise and equanimity. We must also be realistic with ourselves as well as others and accept that mistakes will be made despite the best laid plans. The challenge is to learn from those mistakes and improve. Use stumbling blocks as steps. Be gentle with yourself and with others.

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  1. Old Comment
    sweetnlow77's Avatar
    Thank you for this posting. My sponsor just talked with me a few days ago about being gentle with myself. It feels good when I manage to do it; I treat others better as well. Not living with guilt and remorse feels like a new freedom.
    Posted 06-11-2017 at 08:00 PM by sweetnlow77 sweetnlow77 is offline

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