Expectations Exercise

We have expectations and expectations in and of themselves aren’t the problem, it’s what we choose to do with them that matters. 

If we impose them on our partner or allow our partner to impose them on us, we can create problems in our relationship where none need exist.

So what do we do with our expectations?  How can they be useful to us?

When we become aware of our expectations, we can find ways to meet the underlying needs or wants.  Awareness is key. 

Here’s something you can try this week.

  1. Write down the expectations you have for your partner/relationship/potential relationship.
    Really look at yourself and be honest about your expectations.  The more you reveal, the more helpful this will be.
  2. Look at each item on the list.  There is a reason you have that expectation.  What do you think having each expectation met will feel like for you?  Will you feel more loved?  Will you feel happier?  Will you feel safe? accepted? respected?  – This is the really important part of the exercise because it is less about the action and more about the feeling you think you’ll feel when you have it.  Write down what you believe you will feel when each expectation is met.
  3. When you’ve identified all the feelings you hope to feel when your expectation is met, ask yourself if you can think of ways to meet these emotional needs on your own.  Can you love yourself or accept yourself more?  What can you do, by yourself to feel happier?  Write down all the ways you could meet these emotional needs without anything necessarily changing in your relationship.
  4. Look for ways you already have these feelings in your life and see if you can enhance them.  Spend the week focusing on these feelings you’ve identified and see if you can find evidence of them already in your life.

Feel free to post in the comments any questions, comments or discoveries you make when you do this exercise.

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