Marjorie JamesFacebook is full of sayings, some wonderful and some not so wonderful. Some leave me with my mouth open because of how trite they are. However, once in a while one comes through that makes me nod my head in agreement. Last week, I read one of those.

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it is supposed to be.”

We all live with expectations, “how it is supposed to be.” Our expectations are many times unrealistic, and when they don’t come true, we can get ourselves into what I call a “blue funk.” When that happens, we sometimes make decisions that are harmful to our lives.

The first day of Kindergarten, there can be the expectation that, “I’ll be able to read after today.”

When we graduate, we have expectations that the perfect job will be waiting for us, with incredible pay and benefits.

When we get married, most of us envision “happily ever after.” The dream wedding will be the ticket to a happy life.

However, Kindergarten comes with the realization that learning is exciting, but it is also a long process.

It takes awhile to understand that most jobs don’t come to us; we have to find them and work hard when we do, sometimes starting at a level below what we know we can do.

We figure out that the perfect wedding doesn’t automatically translate into a happy marriage.

What should we do with our expectations? First and foremost, I believe we need to realize that they can be a bit “pie in the sky.” Unrealistic expectations can leave us disappointed and unable to appreciate the wonderful reality of life. Expectations need to be replaced with a realistic, but optimistic, view of the future.

Delilah, a radio personality, said it well: “I spent half of my life upset that things were not the way I thought they should be! Then I learned to let things be as they are, and try to accept and let go of the need to control. (Notice I said, ‘TRY.’)”

Copyright 2014. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.