People Can Be So Disappointing. What’s Up With That?

Cheetah on roller skates
You might say, learning to expect nothing from people frees you from disappointment. Like drinking decaf. Because when you expect nothing from others, then others shouldn’t be able to disappoint you, right?
The fact is, disappointment is the result of expecting. Expecting what exactly? Expecting that things “should” go a certain way and are somehow negative when they don’t.
You aren’t Professor Xavier, so your power and responsibility don’t extend as far as you might believe.
Example: You’re a pitcher on the mound. (Mounds, I love those candy bars.) Oh, you’re a pitcher. You wind up, throw a fastball that could outrun a cheetah on roller skates.
But the moment it leaves your hand, your job is done. You could try running after it, whisper sweet nothings to guide it to the catcher’s mitt, or convince the batter to just swing and miss. Nope. Once that ball is airborne, it’s on its own little adventure, free from your control. Make sense?
Think of the parent giving sagely advice to their adult child, “Honey, always separate your lights from your darks.” The advice is sound, given with love, but once spoken, it’s up to the child to decide if they want to be pretty in pink laundry. The parent’s responsibility ends with the advice.
And lastly, there’s the classic invitation scenario. You invite someone to your epic Taco Tuesday fiesta. You made it clear it’s BYOT – Bring Your Own Tequila. But whether they RSVP “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” is out of your hands. You can’t force them to show up or enjoy your legendary guacamole.
“How do I draw a boundary for myself so I’m not continually disappointed?”
Practice believing it’s true that you can be kind, generous, helpful, whatever, and let that be enough for you. You can enjoy a spoonful of ice cream without licking the tub clean.
You don’t mind what happens after that because you’re busy being present with what you’re doing now. You drop the pebble in the water and allow the ripples to commence as they will.
Expecting less from others and more from ourselves can be liberating. Start by defining your own boundaries and recognizing where your responsibilities end.
This way, you won’t get caught up in the whirlwind of unmet expectations and can truly enjoy life’s roller coaster, cheetah on roller skates and all! I, of course, can show you how to do this.
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