Expectations: Frustration, Anger and Irritation

Written by: Emmanuel

By liking what we do and living our meaning, we're in harmony with everyone and everything. Emmanuel van der Meulen. CEO, Peace Evolution.

Published: August 3, 2020

womans eye with caption | anger and irritation | Peace EvolutionNow here is an animal with a different stripe. Expectations will be the death of us. Expectation spawns frustration, frustration spawns anger, and we become irritable.

Emotions Take a Beating

Every day, we create expectations for a variety of things. No matter how well-meaning our expectation, the moment the expectation isn’t met, our emotions take a beating. It’s as though we’re barely able to resist taking a beating from unmet expectations.

We have expectations about ourselves. We have expectations of others. We have expectations of things. We have expectations of the weather. We have expectations about almost anything. And mind you, once on our path, manifesting our meaning, expectations will creep in, and we won’t notice until it hits us and beats our emotions to a pulp.

What we seemingly don’t ever notice is how much emotional pain we create for ourselves with our expectations.

As you and I walk our own path, we’ll have the notion of not wanting to create expectations. Creating expectations is a little dynamic that has almost no resolution. Little it may seem indeed, yet its outcome is enormous and enormously painful. I can guarantee that when we expect it the least, the expectation will visit us quietly. And then, when it’s nicely settled and the heat’s turned up, our emotions will boil over and we won’t know why we’re suddenly angry, or in a foul mood, or frustrated or irritated—all because somewhere along the line, an expectation crept into the equation.

The Wild Card in a Deck of Cards

Expectation truly is like a wild card in a deck of cards. Expectations are likely created by our Factor-x, and deviously created for sure.

We can rest assured that our Factor-x decides that we’re the cat’s whiskers, and from such a stance, we create expectations. But think about it; we are mere mortals, but we expect some predetermined result from ourselves, others, and other things. Why should something turn out a certain way just because we want it to?

Extreme Example

This is admittedly an extreme example to show how we create expectations and the futility of doing so, but the concept depicted by the example is the same.

We arrange an outing over a weekend and suddenly the weather turns and our outing is washed out due to rain. We’re suddenly up in arms, frustrated, even angry. And we’re possibly irritated with the next person that comes into our space.

This is really futile. We have no say over the weather. Why would the weather respond in a certain way? The weather is just the weather, and it does what it does. In the same way, anyone or anything external to us is essentially outside our hands. Even the course of our own lives is outside our hands in a way. Let’s say you walk your own path, manifesting your meaning, and say this requires that you get many people interested in what you have to offer and want to achieve—but only a few people or perhaps none show interest. Then what? Just because you decided you need this or that has no bearing on reality.

When we create expectations, are we being realistic? Things happen, people do things, and nature does what it does. Everything and everyone just does what everything and everyone does. The mere fact that we require a predetermined outcome has no bearing on reality or what the outcome is likely to be. The outcome will be whatever it’ll be. We can do what we like, create any amount of havoc we desire, get as frustrated or angry as we want, or as irritable, and the reality is the reality, no matter what.

Factor-x Is Likely Undercurrent

Our expectations and our will are just not going to matter at all. Eventually, any expectation we impose on anyone or anything will backfire and create havoc with our emotions. As a result, we’ll lose our inner peace, even if momentarily. The best we can do is to observe how our Factor-x is likely the undercurrent when we create or have expectations, and work with that.

Observe Expectations at Play

When things don’t work out, we likely get angry to some degree. When we carefully observe our lives in general, we’re likely to see another dynamic at play. In our day-to-day lives, are we possibly constantly apprehensive that something might go wrong? Another dynamic might also be at play; when something does go wrong, do you feel that something bad is going to happen to you as a result? When we observe expectations closely, we’re likely to find a myriad of dynamics.

Another dynamic that might be at play when things don’t work out as expected—we’re likely under the impression that something has gone wrong, and that this “wrong” implies other things too. Quite possibly, when something does go wrong, then somehow—and it will serve us to look carefully—we are likely to have done something wrong. That being the case, we are likely to get into trouble, and when we get into trouble, we’re right into our Factor-x, which says to us: “You see, something is wrong with you.” This is something that no one wants to hear, so we fight it and get angry and frustrated and irritable when things don’t go according to our expectations.

And all this time, the aforementioned dynamic has no bearing on the activity that didn’t go according to an expectation. From this, can we then deduce that our emotions are indeed not living in the moment?

When we walk on our own path, this is likely to happen to us, even though we especially feel it shouldn’t. Why? Since we’re not driven by Factor-x, things should work out for us. But it still happens to us because we still create expectations, and expectations still don’t necessarily work out. Why should things work out the way we want them to, just because we want them to?

Denying With Blame

The worst you and I can do when things don’t work out according to expectations is to say, “I should have known better,” or, “This isn’t happening to me!” These kinds of statements take us straight into denying reality, and Factor-x loves this: It’ll conjure up everything and anything just so we don’t look at the reality—the facts of a situation. Because if we do look at the facts, it means we’re exposing ourselves (even to ourselves), while Factor-x’s job is to deny that our Factor-x exists.

So when we can blame ourselves or another, then we’re okay. Then Factor-x can rest, because it succeeded in its quest to disprove that something is wrong with us. This isn’t dealing with reality, which is that we had expectations. We’d serve ourselves better by instead looking at why we have expectations.

Destruction Follows Expectations

When we get angry, frustrated and irritated we don’t have inner peace, and when we’re in another’s company, we invariably exhibit the destruction that twirls around in us. When we understand the origin of the dynamic of having expectations, we’re more likely to defuse it each time, even very slowly or slightly, until eventually we don’t lose ourselves, or at least don’t lose ourselves so badly. Again, when we look at the origin of our expectations, we’re serving ourselves.

Looking Even Closer at Expectation

When things don’t work out, we get annoyed or angry. Let’s look at it another way, though. Say one of your tasks at your job is to reconcile accounting books when they don’t balance. You could get aggravated about it, or just reconcile the books since it’s part of your job. Far better this than living on-edge like a wound-up string just ready to snap when things don’t work out.

In our life experiences, there are bound to be things that don’t go our way. So it’s not rocket science to say that, since we know it’s likely that things won’t always go our way, and now we’re aware of what effect Factor-x has on our emotions, then instead of being anxious or even panicky about things not working out, why not just recognize that it’s part and parcel of our lives? If we do, instead of becoming aggravated, we’ll just recognize the facts for what they are and go forward while staying calm and relaxed and enjoying our newfound inner peace.

Why Anger, Why Not Neutral

This brings up a question: When expectations don’t work out, why do we tend to have almost-instinctive anger rather than a neutral stance? Reading this far, we know that the expectation and the anger are likely caused by our Factor-x. So now, when we observe the pattern of expectation and anger and acknowledge it, the need for expectations and the effects of expectations not working out are desensitized. What this means is that, as our understanding of ourselves grows, a neutral action is likely to instill itself, in which case we become freer and freer and can better attend to the matter at hand—that of an expectation being created and that of it not necessarily working out.

Pact to Maintain Inner Peace

Why not make a pact with ourselves to never let our Factor-x drive us, and to acknowledge that when Factor-x does kick in, we won’t run with the havoc it plays on our emotions? That instead, we will stop to observe the facts, and thereby automatically defuse the situation and maintain inner peace.

When things don’t work out according to expectations, no one is to blame—no one has done anything wrong, and no one is going to get into trouble. If any of these aren’t so—if we feel we are doing something wrong or we are going to get into trouble—then we’re likely not walking our own path, and thus not living our meaning. We’re quite possibly being abused, either physically, mentally or emotionally, or doing something we don’t like doing.

When walking your own path, you aren’t likely to allow anyone to abuse you, even yourself. That isn’t where you’d want to be, and you wouldn’t be doing things you don’t like doing. When walking your own path, there would thus be no need for expectations. You wouldn’t be doing anything wrong or getting into trouble. As mentioned before, because you’re seeing the origin of the anger and the like, you’d then defuse it and maintain inner peace. In this way, instead of propagating destruction, you could then approach the activity that didn’t go your way or didn’t turn out as expected and attend to the facts as they are while maintaining your inner peace.

Crutches: Observe That We’re Different With Them Than Without Them

When we rely on something or someone as a crutch, when that crutch is absent, we’re likely to feel down or depressed or needy or anxious. Crutches, too, are expectations. When we’re without what we consider should be present, we likely feel different and uneasy. Therefore, we lose our inner peace when we’re “not ourselves” without such person or such thing. Surely, this shows a dependency. That perhaps, all along, we weren’t being ourselves.

Would you not rather experience exactly the same feelings whether you’re with or without something or someone? When you feel different depending on whether you’re with or without something or someone, you have expectations to have that person or thing present, and that expectation dictates how you feel—it dictates your inner state.

When you see the aforementioned dynamic and attend to it by acknowledging it and moving away from it, you have the chance to uncover yourself further and to live peacefully without the expectation created by the dependency. In doing so, you free yourself of the dependency. Then you can get to a position in your life where it makes no difference if you don’t have what you’re dependent on for your well-being, even when dependent on a partner.

Can you truly say, for example, that your life, without ever again having a partner, would be the same as with a partner? We might think, Surely there should be a partner in our lives!

But observe what you might be experiencing, right now, when just considering that there will never ever again be a partner in your life. It’s something most of us don’t like even contemplating, because we’ve likely become dependent on being with a partner. If so, at least acknowledge that such an eventuality exists. Then, imagine or at least consider that you could have an absolutely normal life without ever again having a partner in your life, and consider how your life would then be.

What would it be like to be perfectly content without a partner in your life?

What would you be doing with your life?

What would you experience? Would, perhaps, another level of inner peace and inner power come to the fore?

To get to such a place would imply that you’re free—that you would function normally without the dependency.

The intensity of your life would mellow, since the expectation or the dependency would likely be neutralized. This would result in you having a peaceful existence.

Expecting Special Treatment

Even when we’re walking our own path and uncovering ourselves, the possibility continuously exists that our emotions could get thrown out of kilter by expectations. While walking our own path, we likely feel we deserve special treatment—hence expecting things to work out—just because we’re walking our own path and thus living our own meaning—that things should work out as we want them to. Again, why should things work out for our sake, merely because we expect them to?

Let’s ask again. When things don’t work out, why are our initial reactions that of panic or anger or frustration or irritation? Are our expectations and the effect they have on us when things don’t go according to plan likely driven by our Factor-x?

We’re likely to have more inner peace once we see the dynamics of expectations for what they are and understand why they originate, and then acknowledge the dynamic that likely exists when we create expectations, and why it exists.

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