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Mom’s Always Right – A Lesson in Managing Expectations

Posted on Mar 11 2016 under Blog Posts

fear-1052611_1920My mother has said to me on numerous occasions, ” Ab, you can’t expect people to act as you would act. Not everyone is raised with the same values, has the same beliefs, or thinks the same way as you.” The funny thing is, I have had to parrot the same thing back to her a time or two, which goes to show that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Nevertheless, I have a strong moral compass and many times my values do not coincide with others. My mom would often say the above sentence to me when I was upset about someone who didn’t rise to meet my expectations.

Once at a former job of mine, a co-worker was struggling to get her section of the work accomplished. I offered to help because I knew her part was holding up others from completing their work. I also wanted to be a team player. A few months later, I had been out for a couple of days because I had been sick and was behind on my work. I thought she might offer to help; however; she didn’t.

Another time, an old friend of mine was having relationship problems with her boyfriend. She called me sobbing and said she needed to talk. I had plans that night, but I cancelled them and showed up at her house with junk food and funny movies because I wanted to be there for a friend in need. But later, when I had issues with my boyfriend and called her in the same state, she told me she had plans to go to the movies, that everything would be okay, and she would call me tomorrow.

Over the years, I have been disappointed, hurt, and angered by others who didn’t meet my expectations. So a while back, I developed a plan to manage my expectations so that resentment wouldn’t build.

  1. Recognize not everyone is like you. I know it sounds simple, but it is probably the first thing I forget. I would get upset in these situations because the person isn’t acting as I would act, but to paraphrase my mom, we all are guided by different morals, values, and beliefs.
  2. Learn to say “No.” I found this to be a challenge because, for me, I enjoy doing things for others. I like to be there for people I care about in their times of need. However, I found that going above and beyond for others can cause you to lose sight of yourself. People can take advantage of your kindness, and you can end up resentful. If you find yourself always coming to the aid of others and find yourself becoming bitter, try saying “No” every once and awhile.
  3. Reflect, Reflect, Reflect. When you find yourself upset or angered when someone didn’t act the same way you would, reflect and ask yourself why are you feeling that way? You may find points one and two above are the answers. However, stopping to look inwards allows you to gain perspective on yourself and respond accordingly.

Have a great weekend,

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management


Have a great weekend,

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management


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