I have come to realize that many so called “problems” are only problems because I have made them that way. That is, the “problem” is created because I have unrealistic expectations. Expectations of my husband, daughter, friends, or just life in general. When I take a good honest look at these expectations and reevaluate them, I often find the problem never really existed in the first place, or at least not to the degree I was making it to be.

I don’t really like this understanding though, because it kind of puts me as responsible for my feelings…ack! I guess that means I can choose to change my expectations and often the problem may dissipate completely, or at least seem significantly less important.

I will use a current example from my life for relevancy. My husband builds and fixes computers as a side job/hobby. It is not uncommon for us to have multiple computers in various states of disarray throughout the house. We have a small house, which leaves very little room for him to put projects he is currently working on. I usually ask him to store stuff in the basement that he isn’t going to get to for a few days. It is kind of a pain to carry all this stuff downstairs and then back up again, so sometimes he leaves it out to get to tomorrow.

I also have a very curious 3-year-old. When the computer get left out he can only hold himself back for so long before he really wants to try to fix it himself. Push this button, grab that part, use the computer as a step stool…. you get the point. Understandably, his Papa doesn’t really want him to do that. So two unrealistic expectations are occurring here.

Expectations. vs reality

The first is the expectation that a curious toddler is going to be able to leave something that is very cool looking, something that he sees his Papa messing with often, alone for an extended period of time. He tired, he really does, but eventually he will give into that toddler desire. He means no harm, but he still has a lot of maturing to do on that self-control thing.

The second unrealistic expectation is that I should be able to keep him off of the computers all day so that my hubby doesn’t have to lug it all downstairs and back up again. I try too, I really do. But, I have a house to take care of, games to play with the kids, a baby to nurse, and Facebook to scroll through research to complete.

If I or my husband holds rigidly to these expectations, then we are going to inevitably feel upset and angered. The problem is the expectations. The reality is clear. The computers need put away for everyone’s sake and the problem is solved.

Point being, examine those expectations. Are they realistic? Can you look past the feelings of frustration that something isn’t being done how you want, and just look for a solution? Not always easy, but for me, it alleviates a ton of stress that doesn’t have to be there.



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