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What Do You Expect?

Updated: Mar 25

As I prepare to facilitate my first webinar, From Grief to Gratitude, A Journey of Hope (register here), I’ve been thinking about my expectations for this event. How will I define success? What would cause me to feel disappointment or embarrassment? What do I expect?

The wonderful Brené Brown in her book, Atlas of the Heart, defines disappointment as unmet expectations explaining that the greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment*. She distinguishes between unexamined and unexpressed expectations and examined and expressed expectations. Good stuff.

Regardless of the type of expectation we hold, expectations impact how we feel about ourselves and others.

I imagine the seeds of our expectations were planted in our earliest days by our family of origin. We were told, “You don’t have to be Einstein but you better at least get C’s.” Or maybe we heard, “No child of mine would ever - ” and fill in the blank: drink alcohol, have sex or a baby outside of marriage, fall in love with a member of the same sex, get a tattoo.

Expectations mark values and beliefs like tombstones mark where a casket is buried. We understand there is a value buried beneath the expectation but we don’t name or recognize it.