Emotions and expectations

When I was younger I had expectations, sometimes huge expectations of people. I would then become angry because those people did not meet my expectations.  It wouldn’t matter whether or not they were unrealistic.  I was still angry that these people disappointed me and fell short of what I thought should happen.  Having unrealistic expectations comes from immaturity and dysfunction, someone has not taught us realistic expectations and has allowed us to think that what we want is what we should expect without making allowances for human error and limitations.  I learned that putting my expectations on others without finding out if they were realistic was a fool’s errand.  I had no right to do so.  That is not to say that all of us have a right to some expectations, reasonable ones like;  when a repair man or the cable guy says they will come between 2 and 5 PM, it is reasonable to think they will do that, when your spouse/friend says they will do something for you, it is reasonable for you to expect that they will.   It is also reasonable to become irritated/angry because they did not.  Chances are you took off work to meet the repairman or cable guy and have now lost work with nothing to show for it, and they have probable asked you to meet them again another day, which means more lost work time.  If this is not the first time your spouse or friend has said they will do something and then did not, it is also reasonable to become irritated or angry.  It is also reasonable to lose trust in those people who repeatedly do not keep their word or promise.

Emotion’s are not good or bad.  They are there to help us understand that something just happened to us.  Irritations or anger means someone just hurt us, stepped on our toes, so to speak.  It is up to us to understand why that happened.  What part of the situation did we contribute to the event?  Was there an unrealistic expectation?  Are we angry because it is easier to admit anger then hurt?  Under a lot of anger is hurt feelings, because it is more acceptable in our society to say I’m angry then it is to say, you just hurt my feelings. Hurt feelings makes us appear weak, anger makes us look strong.  Not owning hurt feelings, hurts us.  We then have a tendency to place those feelings in the sack I talked about before.  We have no right to release our anger on someone, we do have a right to vent it in a mature fashion like going for a walk, run, listening to music, reading a book, etc and then going back to that person and calmly telling then what angered you. You also have no right to expect that they will care or do anything to change whatever ever it is that caused you anger. the world does not revolve around making you happy, we should be doing that for ourselves.  Depending upon that persons response, we should then be making a decisions whether or not we can trust that person again with whatever it was that caused our anger.

There is a lot of talk about guilt being a bad emotion.  There are no bad emotions. Emotions are designed to tell us something about our state of being, we should be paying attention to what that might be at the time.  Guilt tells us we just stepped on someone elses toes.  We need to make amends, apologize, fix whatever it is that we did. That doesn’t mean we have to spend the rest of our lives doing so.  When we have made ammends the guilt should subside, if it does not, we should be looking at why we are still carrying it around in our sack and then address that issue.

Hate seems to be an emotion that a lot of people use to describe what they do not like.  Hate is a strong emotion, indicating that we have loved someone or something a great deal.  In order to hate, you have had to love deeply.  Hate is not the opposite of love, but the underside of love, the dark side of love.  Apathy is the opposite of love.  Apathy is the opposite of any emotion.  Apathy is the lack of feeling anything, a lack of caring one way or the other.  If you carry hate around it will do the same thing that anger does, eat at you and make you bitter.  The only person that is hurt by your hatred is you.  The other person probable does not care and is apathetic about your feelings concerning them.

We tend to place blame on others in this country.  For whatever the reason we have difficulty taking responsibility for what we do, think, say and feel.  Taking responsibility for what we do, think, say and feel is healthy and mature.  Taking responsibility at times does not mean you are taking responsibility for everything.  Only for your part in it. That does not mean other people will not try to make you responsable for all of it, you do not have to take that on.  If it is not yours, do not accept it as yours and say so.  It is a freeing experience.  It takes courage to take responsibility for yourself and your actions or inactions.  It take courage to make decisions about whether or not you will accept people for who and what they are at the time, because people change.  Each of us have to figure out what is acceptable to us and what is not, who we want in our lives and who we cannot tolerate.

To end I will say that if we are instantly angered, afraid or any other emotion, it has more to do with what just got triggered within us from our past then what just happened in the present moment.  Taking time to figure out what that was/is, is also freeing.  It is also the responsible, mature thing to do.  When theses instant emotions happen, you need to take the time to find out what got triggered.  You can do that by allowing yourself to feel the emotion and the origin of it will come.  Most of the time it is from childhood and it is a childs emotion.  The adult that you are now needs to nurture that child and tell them it will be alright, there is no danger now, you can handle whatever comes.  Not addressing it allows it a chance to come up again and again in your life, until you deal with whatever it is.  These video’s will help you relax and give away what you cannot control or is getting in the way of healing.  Link to the video’s.    Enjoy!


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I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist.

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