Expectations and Reality.
Mind the GAP!
I would like to start this post discussing Expectations. How we expect something to go, what we expect something to look like.
Expectation is the picture we build inside our heads about how we want something to go. We think about it, plan for it, engage our imagination and we build it up inside our minds so that we have a base level of certainty about our future.
I would like to mention here that we can expect both positive and negative outcomes. We phrase our expectation of a positive outcome or experience as EXCITEMENT and our negative outcome and expereince as ANXIETY.
We feel excitement when we desire this positive outcome. We think about how good it will be, how good we will feel and all the awesome possibilities that will result from this projected positive outcome.
On the flip side, we create anxiety when we look only at the negative outcomes and worry that we will not be able to cope with those outcomes. Anxiety is one of the voices of our fears. It raises it’s head when what we want is not going t o be available for us to experience. Instead, we will be left with the negative outcome we are dreading.
But that is another post for another day.
MIND THE GAP!
The gap is the feeling of disappointment between the positive desired outcome and the reality that we actually land in.
Next week I am going to see Queen in concert with my sisters. I am very excited to be going and to have a night out with my awesome sisters. I have already spent some time in my imagination space, creating a simple picture of what I think will happen. How much I think I will enjoy myself, the music, the company…It’s hopefully going to be an amazing experience. So you can already see how I have built it up in my mind to be a positive outcome.
What will happen if it is not as I have pictured! The gap is the disappointment I will feel between the picture in my head and the reality of the experience.
So how do we manage this. It is human nature to expect…to predict…to try and see what will occur. It is part of the Ego to determine whether an experience will add to, or take away from our lives. This is natural and normal and EVERYBODY does it. EVERYBODY! We look forward to the things that we think will add to our lives and try to avoid what we think will not. It is part of our human nature.
The crucial part is what we do with the gap! If something doesn’t go to plan…what do you do? Do you avoid disappointment and not participate? Do you sulk and complain? Do you regress to your child self and throw a tantrum demanding that it should have been the way you wanted it. (If you have a child you know the pain of the blue plate v’s the yellow plate). Or do you shrug your shoulders, adjust and get back to enjoying the moment whether it matches the picture or not.
It matters how you respond!
One of the fundamentals of Coaching is “He who has the most behavioral flexibility always comes out on top.” That is the power to readjust to your circumstances, to feel the gap and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Tony Robbins has a perspective on suffering that is most effective here. He states you have three choices.
1)Change the circumstances to meet your expectations
2)Change your expectations to meet your circumstances
3)Continue to suffer
Suffering is when you feel the pain between expectation and reality and feel as though you are powerless to change it.
But you are not powerless. You have choices.
Living with a Chronic Condition means that I have to adjust my expectations daily. My expectations of how I think my day will progress, what I think I can achieve, and how I will feel about myself through it all.
If I am honest, I often bemoan that I cannot achieve what I thought I was going to achieve on the day…but I don’t sit in it. I don’t stay in disappointment. I don’t stay in the gap. I visit it.
Acknowledge that there is a gap, look at what the expectations were and what the reality of the day is. Then I adjust accordingly. That is where my choice is. That is where my power is.
Some days I raise my expectations, some days I lower them. Some days it progresses as I thought it would.
It is how you respond that dictates the quality of your day and the way you experience your day.
You may not have a chronic condition. You may indeed be healthy, but how do you deal with disappointment. How do you deal with your gap?