By Kelly Wright
Before my confession about what I do when things don’t go my way, I must confess that I have a lot of expectations. Expectations of myself have been a constant companion (or should I say constant challenger) throughout my life. Expectations of others became very evident when I got married.
“Unmet expectations breed frustrations.” Lysa TerKeurst
Yes, Lysa, unmet expectations are so frustrating and unfortunately have been recurring for me this summer. Or maybe I should say unmet expectations of air conditioning have been a recurring theme for me this summer.
Like many of you, I rely on air conditioning in the summer months. Most of us probably haven’t experienced living in a home without A/C. And I for one greatly, greatly appreciate the comfort and refreshment of air conditioning. This summer has been hot and sadly, the air conditioning at my house has disappointed me very much. It wasn’t doing its job. It was trying – blowing air, but not cool air.
What do I do when things don’t go the way I want or expect them to go?
When the air conditioning didn’t meet my expectations, I reacted with frustration. I was hot physically and emotionally. I was mad – mad at the air conditioner, mad at the cost to replace the air conditioner, and honestly, even a bit mad at my husband. It wasn’t the air conditioner’s fault – it was old and needed to be replaced. My husband was not at fault – as a matter of fact, he quickly made calls to get it replaced as soon as possible. The cost? Well, I’m still upset with that one.
The fun, or should I say disappointment, didn’t stop there.
This spring we replaced my 2014 minivan with a new Toyota Highlander. I LOVE my new car. But sadly, my new car disappointed me as the temperatures got warmer. Surprise – the air conditioner was blowing air, but not cooling the car.
At this point, after the house and then the car, I began to wonder if the issue was me. I am a woman of a certain age – maybe I’m not able to cool down anymore, despite the best efforts attempted by air conditioners in my house and car. Thankfully, others confirmed it wasn’t just me which meant, unfortunately, the A/C in our new car wasn’t working. Our brand-new car. Ugh!
More frustration. Thankfully, we have a warranty, so I knew we wouldn’t be out thousands of dollars. But then the timing of when we could get it repaired didn’t meet my expectations. I wanted to get it in the day we called, but with our schedules and the dealership’s availability, we couldn’t get the car in for two weeks. Two weeks – are you kidding me?!? Once again, I was hot with frustration because things didn’t go my way – my expectations weren’t met.
Expectations…we experience many expectations all day, every day. I expect my phone alarm to wake me up. I expect my garage door to open and my car to start. I expect my home and car to be cooled by working A/C. We expect many, many things throughout the day and if things don’t go the way we expect them to go, we get triggered. We get triggered because reality and our expectations haven’t matched up.
Think of it this way:
Expectations > REALITY = Disappointment
Disappointment, the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations, happens when expectations are greater than reality.
For you, how do you respond or react when things don’t go your way?
You most likely experience disappointment that might look like varying degrees of sadness or frustration.
So, what are your options when you experience disappointment?
I’d like to encourage you as I also remind myself to:
Recognize what you are feeling and consider the truth about what you are going through.
I was frustrated and concerned when we had to replace our air conditioner at the house. It was going to cost a lot of money and wasn’t going to be an immediate, quick fix.
I recognized my feelings before they caused too much havoc by writing out what I felt and looking at the truths about the situation. My journaling went something like this: “I am so frustrated that our A/C went out. I feel so annoyed that it’s so expensive to replace. I feel trapped because we have no choice but to replace it asap. The truth about this is that we trust the guy that is replacing it, we’ve got money saved for emergencies like this, and I am grateful we live in a place that has air conditioning.”
Taking a few minutes to process this way helped me manage my feelings and recognize disappointment when my expectations weren’t met. It kept me from over-reacting and…over-heating.
Thankfully, today I have a cool house, a cool car, and I’m feeling very grateful and …pretty chill
as I process my feelings when my expectations are greater than my reality.