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Great Expectations. Thursday August 25, 2016

For some time now I've found myself becoming increasingly disappointed in people. Friends, family, the wider world. If I let it, it could really get me down. So I've chosen to examine this view instead. I asked myself what I'm really disappointed in.

It turns out that I expect people to behave the way I think they should; the way I would. And I expect them to do this consistently; no exceptions. And I feel disappointed when they don't do this. Which happens a lot.

I'm sure you'll agree, there's some glaringly obvious flaws with this thinking! Firstly, expecting, or assuming, is dangerous. My other half is forever informing me that "to assume is to make an ass out of u (you) and me". Thank you dear, very clever. However he's right. If we expect something, particularly something we have little, if any, control over, we are inviting disappointment. To hope would be healthier I think, but not to expect. We need to be aware and accept that things may not go according to our plan.

Ah yes, my plan – my standards of behaviour; my rules for living. It seems I forgot to issue this vast document to every single person I meet. So I'm expecting people to live up to a job description, when they haven't applied for the job, aren't aware of the person specification and have no idea of the criteria they're expected to meet. Slightly harsh?!
And us human's aren't predictable; we aren't consistent. We like our habits, yes, and many of us like routine, but with the best will in the world we cannot possibly be consistent all day, every day, given all the many variables we face in our lives.

No wonder then that I feel constantly disappointed – I've set myself up for it!

The most amusing revelation in my self-analysis however is that if I apply the same expectations to myself, I fall short. I don't meet my own standards of behaviour, all the time. I'm not consistent. I'm not always kind; actually I can be horrible when I'm tired. I'm not always reliable; in fact I'm often late, despite hating poor punctuality in others! Basically then I'm a living contradiction...

So I'm adopting acceptance. Despite my flaws and inconsistencies, people accept me for who I am; I need to do a bit more of that myself. That doesn't mean I should accept poor behaviour and not challenge discrimination or injustice; it just means accepting that I cannot control every aspect of every one's lives. Well, at least until I've got that rule book printed and sent out...

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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the room above the garage Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:08am

I need to do work here too! Thank you, love ratg x.

Hopeful One Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:44am

Hi RATG- are you a Lark too?

the room above the garage Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 11:52am

Hello my dear :-) I think by nature I'm an owl but in order to captain the lifeboat and support the crew I need to be up with the larks and get ahead. In doing so, I learned that my mental health improved if I slept the same number of hours but at an earlier time. I've been told the nervous system replenishes between 10pm and 2am so I aim at 10, and up at dawn. I've returned to early morning meditation and you usually pass into my thoughts around then as I encourage myself!

Hopeful One Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 8:08pm

Hi RATG - I am a definite Lark. The sleepologists figure that if one achieves a sleep efficiency of > 90 % than it doesn't really matter how many hours one sleeps. Sleep efficiency is calculated with the formula hours of sleep divided by hours spent in bed multiplied by 100. So 6 hours sleep with six hours in bed equals 100%. 6 hours sleep with 8 hours in bed equals 75% . The first person will feel more refreshed and alert the next day than the other person. Glad to hear you are keeping up the meditation.

Hopeful One Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:43am

Hi Fiona- well said!but do remind yourself of the times when one's friends did behave as one wanted or even surprised oneself.( might not be that often but they do) And that goes for one self too.How often I find myself exclaiming 'Well I never....' when I exceed my own expectations.

To continue the NBC gems at the Rio Olympics.

7 At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."

8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:29pm

Lolilol! Thanks HO...keeping us smiling!

Hopeful One Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:57pm

Hi Bear- thanks.

Orangeblossom Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:57am

Thanks Fiona, I loved the blog which reminded me of lots that of what I was aware. On a recent course I was reminded of my need to be gentle with myself as has a friend done within the past year. I tend to be my own critic.

Orangeblossom Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:59am

I wonder if you share the same tendency too Fiona.

Jul Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 8:02am

Hello Fiona. I am not sure what I expect in other people and your blog has set me thinking. Thank you! What I am sure about though is that I tend to have quite negative thoughts about friends and family, and I am sure these reflect my state of mind. I think you are right Fiona actually. You have advanced a few steps from my theory and suggesting that our expectations are high, is right. I expect people to meet my standards and when they don't for obvious reasons, I then feel negative about them. A work colleague once said to me that I can't and mustn't expect other people to know how I am feeling at any one time. So that when I am talking to someone, s/he won't know unless I tell them that I'm feeling tired, low etc. and I shouldn't expect them to make allowances for me. I thought this very harsh at the time. I think that how I feel at any one time, will inevitably influence how I judge others. It shouldn't though. I have often said on this page, that I should forget "me" and leave me behind when talking to people.Fiona, you have written a great blog. Julxxx

LillyPet Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 1:39pm

Exactly the same for me too Fionaxx

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 8:03am

It's like you've held a mirror up in front of you...but there's a Bear staring back at you!
Hi Fiona, this is me too. I was brought up with fairly strict but good principles and expect it of others! Then am ve ve disappointed when I'm let down!
Hugs, that's what we need...and Bear ones too!
Big Bear hugs to you and me and all of us who want the same!

S Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 8:28am

Hi Fiona, I can't tell you how apt this is right now- actually I can, I am. ???? Thank you so much! I judged someone harshly yesterday as I am disappointed and sad about their chosen priorities- I assumed they would do what I would do and they didnt. I need to examine my rulebook and probably chuck it out/make it a gratitude journal! Sx

Ang Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 8:38am

Thanks Fiona I can totally relate to this behaviour. I need to work on this too. X

LillyPet Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 9:01am

Hi Fiona, me too.
However, if people are unpleasant or intrusive, I feel that there are boundaries that I hope I can expect that will generally not be crossed! Then it's a case of where each of our boundaries are I guess.
Thank you for a great blog Fiona, I will return to work with Hopes rather than expectations! LP x

Duma Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 9:41am

Hi Fiona, insightful piece.

I have a brief tale to tell about moment-dwelling.

As I once said in Jerusalem (I was doing this thing, while 'attending a wedding' (In body, out of familial Giri, if not i spirit, long saga.) and was relaxing with a shisha and beer, local) when challanged on my martial arts credentials, by a friend's uncle (a trick stylist)...

..."The correct thing to do next, is the next thing to do."

I suspect that this understanding extends to all!

Cheers, Duma.

PS - It did rather silence him on the topic.

Tutti Frutti Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 9:44am

Hi Fiona An excellent blog which I can definitely identify with. I have a fairly strict moral compass from a Roman Catholic upbringing and ongoing Christian faith. I think I apply stricter standards to me than to others although I am aware that I can also get judgemental at times. So I think it is probably a case of if I don't cross this line then I can be really
sure not to cross the important line I am applying to everyone else! So my inner critic gets to have a field day.

As you say we need to replace musts and shoulds with hopes and preferences. We need to recognise that there will be individual circumstances where we and others cross our lines and that it usually isn't the end of the world if they are crossed. Of course there are a few lines it is right to keep solid when dealing with others or cease any relationship with that person. We all choose our own but "don't stay with a partner who hits you" seems a good one to me. Thankfully has never happened to me. I've been doing some work on replacing inner beliefs with preferences with my counsellor. It's called REBT and although I found the written exercises difficult I would definitely recommend it.

Love TF x

Jill Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 9:59am

Thank you Fiona. Great post , well written. What you say is a timely reminder. JILL X

Jackie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 10:06am

Hi Fiona when i read this just now i thought to myself this is exactly how i think too, i expect people to be kind. I have just had several weeks off work with depression and i did not hear from anyone i work with. I expected a message or two but i didnt get them so although its upsetting i will go back to work today and try and accept that people have their own concerns. I am the Nan that lost her Granddaughter to adoption. The final hearing was tuesday and the judge has been harsh in not letting us view photos because i took our story to the media. I have only posted a couple of times before but i am going to try and do this more often as people seem lovely here.
Love Jackie

Jul Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 10:18am

No wonder you are depressed Jackie. Are you sure you should return to work so soon after the hearing? I do wish you all the best. A heart breaking story. Love Jul xx

Melanie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 10:39am

Dear Jackie, Lovely to hear from you, so sorry to hear about your granddaughter, I am sending you deep love and support! My best wishes for your return to work. I hope they extend to you the love and support you deserve. Melanie xo

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:36pm

Dear Jackie, I'm behind the times and haven't read of your plight - that you have gone through a horrid time, losing contact with your granddaughter - so very sad. I've come across so many peeps over the years who say that no one from work has contacted them when they are away due to illness and I'm always shocked and saddened by this. I wonder sometimes if it's just me expecting too much, but I have seen it such a lot....especially when neighbours are poorly and they say that family and other neighbour's haven't been to see them! I just wonder what's happening in this world of ours...why are peeps too busy in their own lives that they can't spend a little time on someone else? I am so very sorry for you, Jackie and hope you know there will be many peeps here who care. Bear x

Tutti Frutti Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:26pm

So sorry to hear about your granddaughter Jackie. I can't think what to say to make you feel any better but am sending hugs and will pray for you. Love TF x

Tutti Frutti Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:30pm

Jackie Doing multiple replies as I want to reply to all your points but a longer response disappeared on me. :( I wanted to echo what Jul says. Think carefully about whether it is time to go back to work. You don't want to make yourself worse by going back too early - no good for you or your employer. Love TF x

Tutti Frutti Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:34pm

I think there could be other reasons why your colleagues haven't been in touch while you've been off. They could be worried that contacting you to see how you are might seem like pressure to rush back. They may just not know much about depression and not be sure what to say. Love TF x PS one more to go

Tutti Frutti Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:42pm

I have been with my employer for over 20 years covering 3 major episodes. A number of years ago we put a "healthy work plan" into place which agrees stuff about managing my condition at work and which goes to my line manager and HR. It includes my preferences on how to keep in touch if I am off work with my bipolar. My plan says"on no account get in touch with me before I get in touch with you" but does authorise them to contact my husband about me. Hope some of this is helpful. Love TF x

Jackie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 11:53pm

We have to follow company proecure and phone in weekly its not easy when depressed is it

Jackie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 11:53pm

We have to follow company proecure and phone in weekly its not easy when depressed is it

Jackie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 11:53pm

We have to follow company proecure and phone in weekly its not easy when depressed is it

Jackie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 11:54pm

Sorry its posted more than one

Jackie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 11:57pm

Thankyou I have known since last december she was to be placed with a family so its been a grieving process for 19 months in total. I feel if I didnt go back now I might not want to go back ever so im giving it a try

Jackie Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 12:00am

I am considering asking for a transfer as I realise I feel very alone in this store, I work for a very large chemist. They should know about depression but due to it being a sensitive situation and I have cried alot I think they have found it difficult

Jackie Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 12:02am

Thankyou all for your kind thoughts it means alot to read thid tonight xxx

Jackie Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 12:10am

My daughter has severe mental health problems and also an avm in her brain. She has had gamma knife radiation and the avm appears to be reducing in size. She has partial seizures due to it as well and she really did struggle being a mum but its the way that social services treated us that hurts and the loss is painful. I know she will be loved dearly but knowing I might not see her until shes 18 or if at all is hard

Melanie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 10:40am

Dear Fiona, thank you very much for your post - very helpful and I like your husband's explanation of "assume" - this is something I am working on right now! xoxo

Melanie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 10:41am

PS by learning to ask more questions of people and also noticing where I have assumed something and acted upon my assumption and working on asking the other person first next time.

Melanie Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 10:41am

PS by learning to ask more questions of people and also noticing where I have assumed something and acted upon my assumption and working on asking the other person first next time.

The Gardener Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 2:35pm

I don't think I expect anything of people now but friendship - do not 'grovel' for it - but happily surprised how many friends I do have. Terribly disappointed that few of my family contact, with notable exceptions, but they don't contact their parents. How many of you - quite tolerant people - are upset that friends and family can spend hours on facebook or texting but cannot manage a phone call or short e-mail just to say hi! One friend, same age as own children (she has the awful mean father I write about, who has disowned her) is amazing. I wrote to see how her holidays went only last evening. After an awful evening and first part of night I came downstairs to play Solitaire and try and get calm. There, already - a cheerful, bubbly reply (her whole bubbly character shines out of her mails) and lovely photos of the little girls. My father, one son and a daughter expect perfection of friends etc (like one or two of the posts, they set up the blue-print) - they are all extremely intolerant - but CANNOT see that it is THEY who have to give a bit. I also said in a previous post that I've only disliked three people, all women, because through their extreme egoism they have harmed the families where these women were the 'incomers'. It may be a bit sweeping, but these people do not hold out a helping hand, I know the notorious mean one achieves lots for charity - but by his position and because it is expected of him, rotary etc - as long as it's not his own money. Just read Jackie's post - so sad - but with two adopted daughters of our own the clean break is still best for the child to avoid any tug of love. When our third son's marriage broke up his wife wrote to me how upset she was but that she would NEVER stop the children seeing us. The other grand-parents were rock solid and I think it helped a lot as they coped with the more than usual difficulties of growing up. The are both charmers and achievers - but they don't contact! And communications is a big part of both their careers. Fiona's blog stressed 'acceptance' a word which comes through and through. Mr G insulted me thoroughly last evening, gave me a bad night, and abused me this morning. No respite till Tuesday - a survival plan has to be put in place. last week-end we had social commitments every day - went with the wheel-chair - but he was no more cheerful, so 'getting out' is not the answer, and it's b****y hard work

The Gardener Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 2:49pm

HO, you can get an anthology of the sayings of Commentators - I've got a book upstairs called 'Colemanballs'. My 1929 almanack continues to amuse - humour of 8 decades ago. Detective talking at door to housekeeper.'Have you come about the man on the sixth floor who hanged himself?' 'Yes, we have to do an autopsy to discover the cause of death'.

Tutti Frutti Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:37pm

Gardener/HO We have a subscription to Private Eye and the first thing we usually do when it arrives is read out Colemanballs and Dumb Britain as a family.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:37pm

Tee hee! Are you rivalling HO?? Bear x

Hopeful One Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 7:54pm

Hi guys- all humourous contributions are welcome . One thinks it's virtually impossible to have a genuine laugh and be depressed at the same time .

Rebecca Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 4:10pm

I totally get this Fiona although I still hold that I don't have many good friends. I tried phoning somebody on Monday and they still haven't got back to me for example. Have lots of people in my life who I really feel don't care. Can't see I'm expecting too much?

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:43pm

Hi's an absolute total annoyance when someone doesn't get back to you...downright rude! I 'what's app'd' a good friend two weeks ago...and she still hasn't got back to me! Really annoying thing is that on Whatsapp, you can see that a message is not only delivered, but it has been read!!! So not only do I know the message arrived, but that she has read it and still can't be bothered to reply! But then the kinder inner Bear worries and thinks maybe she's busy, ill or something.....mmm....probably not! You are not expecting too much to get a reply! Bear hugs x

Lisa Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 4:33pm

Hi Fiona, I to can relate to this as I think many people do. Some people really are blind to how the express themselves and its hurtful especially if its a close friend or family member. I think what is important is to carryon what you think is right and just accept that other people are just not going to think or be on the level you are on. Its has taken me many years to accept this myself and it is quite a difficul issue. The mind is very powerful and with a little help from others who understand and for you to have more control of your mind you will start to accept and take people for who they are. You are not a bad person or wrong in how you react, you are who you are and when you love and accept yourself for that you will find situations much easier to cope with. None of us are perfect but I totally understand where your coming from. Take care lisa x

The Gardener Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 4:40pm

Rebecca, I've been on this tack before. My 'long' phone list still has people from half a century ago. We can turn up at a 25 year interval and be given lunch or put up for several nights. Now, none of us are going to meet again. I do the phoning, the recipient is delighted to hear from me and talks for hours. They NEVER phone back - did that hour or so count for nothing - do they really not want to continue the friendship? These are often very bright people who have never 'embraced' computers. So we are down to Christmas cards. Now, in several cases, Christmas cards stop and we don't know if they are dead or alive

Sheena Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:26pm

Fiona, I enjoyed your post and it's honesty made me smile - in a warm way! I am learning that many of us are driven to achieve and do have extremely high standards. This explains why for years even if I stated that I was exhausted I wasn't able to convey what this meant (exhausted!). Being able to accept that high standards are just the way I am starts me recognising that other people are just the way they are too. Very simply, but essentially we don't need many friends - more important is the ability to be friendly enough with people we meet and honest with those that we rightly have expectations of. You have really made me think :) Sheena

Nix Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 9:17am

A bit of a reality check - we all know this stuff, but easily revert to the victim role... we are perfect and everyone else is doing us wrong or not living up to our standards. Shook me out of my personal sense of outrage this week! Thank you.

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