Tap The Power of Realistic Expectations for Incredibly Happy Relationships

Today in my neighborhood, the weather is unseasonably warm. Which is nice, because it’s still winter (or at least it was when I wrote this, now.) It’s nice to have a warm day every now and then when you don’t expect it. It breaks up the monotony of the coldness that I’m used to when I wake up in the morning. And since I try to wake up early every day, I enjoy having the sun just a little bit warmer than I expect it to be.

It’s like when I go to the movies. I am pretty easy to impress and entertain. Sometimes I read the reviews of movies I want to see, sometimes I don’t. An interesting thing that I’ve found was that when I read a particularly unflattering review of a movie, it allows me to enjoy this more, because I go in with less expectations. Like when you really expect to enjoy something, you sometimes can have an unconsciously higher standard that is harder for something to live up to.

I guess that is why on the stock market they always wait and see if earnings beat the markets expectations. Even ones that don’t make a lot of money, if they make more than the analysts have expected, then the stock will go up on that particular day. I remember a company I used to work for had a stock that performed tremendously well. The company had earnings in excess of one dollar per share, which is a lot. One particular day, when the earnings came out, they were only 99 cents a share instead of a dollar a share. Any company that earns 99 cents a share is a very financially stable company, so imagine the surprise when the stock went down almost 4 percent that day because it “didn’t meet the analysts expectations.”

It reminds me of a book I read on self improvement. If I remember correctly, it was a relationships book. And they key to having a happy relationship was having accurate expectations on what to get out of the relationship. Because when you are with somebody, and you find this person interesting, you have to make sure that you like this person because of real reasons, and not imaginary ones. Because when you start to expect reality to behave based on your imagination, and not an accurate assessment of what is out there, you can run into trouble. The book went on to say that one of the best ways to have a really good, solid relationship with somebody was to establish solid expectations based on communication, and your own observations of each other’s behavior in certain circumstances.

My friend, who is married with three kids told me about this. As soon as he learned to plan ahead for his family taking almost an hour sometimes to get ready to leave the house, he was able to make plans, carry out these plans, without having the added stress of expecting his family to meet unrealistic expectations. He said that in the beginning, when it was only him and his wife, he could kind of push for her to be ready earlier, but the more people they added to the family, the more impossible this got. So he naturally realized that the best way to reduce stress, when other people are involved, is to stand back, and watch their behavior, and plan your activities based on reality rather than fantasy.

Which I have gotten down to a science. I used to rush to the movies, buy my large popcorn and coke, then rush to the theater to sit down. It took me about three months of willpower to not eat all my popcorn before the trailers finished showing. Now I usually get to my seat just as the real movie is starting. I’ve learned to ignore the stated start times in the newspaper, and use my experience as a guide. I find that is much easier, because I’d rather enjoy my popcorn while watching the movie I came to see, rather than the movies I’ll most likely come to see in the future.