I can't get a phrase out of my head these days...
All disappointment stems from unmet expectations.
This theme is popping up everywhere in my life... in books, podcast interviews, random conversations.
And I'm realizing how true it is.
So many of my personal conflicts and resentments come not from somebody doing something wrong, but from somebody not doing something I wanted. There's a big difference.
My disappointment happens for one of two reasons.
One, I'm not communicating my expectations. Is everyone in my life a mind-reader? (No. The answer is no, Jaquelle.)
Two, sometimes my expectations are unrealistic. There are times and circumstances when my expectations are just unfair and selfish burdens on others.
So what's the solution?
Here are 2 ways I'm learning to get disappointed less:
1. Lower my expectations (maybe). Or just communicate them better.
When my expectations are too high, it's because I feel entitled. I expect things because I think I deserve them. So I need to release my idol of entitlement and just lower the bar.
Sometimes, though, my expectations are fair but unknown to others. Because of that, I'm trying to get better at communicating what they are. If something is a big deal to you (that others may not realize is), tell them. There's nothing wrong with that.
Manage your expectations of others by helping them see what those expectations are.
2. Get humble.
I write about Tim Keller's concept of humility as "self-forgetfulness" all the time because it really has changed my life. If I stopped connecting every experience to myself, if the world was about serving others and not about satisfying myself, I'd be a lot less disappointed when things don't go my way.
Because that's what Jesus modeled: a life marked by humility — humility so deep and wide and perfect that it led him to lay down his life for prideful people. That's why Paul says in Philippians 2:3-9:
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Do you want to know how to be disappointed less? Stop making everything about you.
This is preaching to myself first. Most of the time I'm disappointed, it's because of me, not anyone else.
And if I want to be disappointed less, I need to make more things about others, and ultimately about Jesus, and much less about myself.
Will you join me?