A lot of our disappointments and frustrations are a result of outside forces. We make plans to meet up with a friend and the friend flakes. We buy a plane ticket and the flight is delayed. We drive across town, run into traffic, and arrive late to a meeting. We order food without cheese and get cheese anyway. (That’s actually a whole philosophical discussion for another day, hehe.)
Personally, I expect a lot out of myself. And I used to expect a lot out of other people.
In other words, I hold myself to a very high standard and I used to hold others to that same very high standard.
When I say I’m gonna do something, I do it. When I make a promise, I keep it. (Barring unforeseen circumstances, of course.)
Holding other people to a high standard has resulted in lots of feelings of disappointment.
Can you relate? Has there ever been a time when somebody has disappointed you?
Over the past couple of years I’ve been able to conquer those feelings of disappointment very simply. I stopped holding others to my high standards.
It’s not my place to hold others to a high standard, or any standard for that matter.
We should hold ourselves to a high standard, but the responsibility for holding anybody to any standard ends right there.
Here is what I’ve found: many people don’t hold themselves to a high standard and, therefore, go back on their word or don’t fulfill obligations they say they’ll fulfill.
If you try to hold someone like this to a high standard the result will usually be disappointment.
Now when someone tells me they’re going to do something I accept that and believe it. If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t bother me because I didn’t formulate a standard for them to live up to.
If they do, on the other hand, follow through, I have a better sense of “oh, cool, this person holds themselves to a high standard. I’m going to enjoy working with / being friends with / hanging out with this person a lot.”
Here is where it gets tricky: if you have someone in your life who is consistently not following through, I would classify them as a toxic person. We really do become who we associate with and as you know, you should not associate with toxic people.
There’s an old saying, and I don’t know where I first heard it, but it goes something like this: “If you want to make a lot of money, take the average incomes of your five closest friends. That number is what you can expect as your income.” While I don’t necessarily believe in that particular statement it makes sense in a lot of other areas in life.
If you have people in your life who constantly go back on their words, it will become so normal to you that it will begin to creep into your own personality.
I know this is true because the reason I was once a greedy and unhappy person was because those are the types of people I associated myself with.
How do you avoid disappointment?
1) Don’t allow your happiness/fulfillment to come from outside forces that you have no control over.
If you can’t control a situation you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s like playing the lottery with your happiness.
2) Associate with kick ass people.
Awesome people hold themselves to a high standard and won’t disappoint.
Special comment love request.
Do: write happy thoughts. :) For example, situations where everything worked out like you wanted. Or worked out unexpectedly but happily.
Don’t: write about people, things, or situations that have disappointed you.