3.2 What are Expectations

Expectations, as mentioned previously, are a person’s line between a positive or negative reaction to actions or events. When we travel on a road in a car our goal is to stay within the lines. These lines do not determine whether we are going north or south, but they are the lines that manage to keep us alive in during our journey from point A to B.

Expectations lines are drawn by the world we live in. If we are born into a religious family who has a long history of entering into law enforcement, then your religious and career expectations are more than likely already defined. It is almost impossible for a person to be born without any expectations. Expectations give us meaning and purpose. If we have no expectations then we have no reason to get out of bed, or in it for that matter.

Unfortunately our normal attributes perpetuate our recurring cycle from high to low expectations. Utopia should be defined as a world where expectations are always perfectly met. If expectations were perfect, then there would be no great moments in time as well as terrible ones. With the good comes the bad. We are always on a road of expectations whether it is on a path of high or low the outcomes are always the same.

If we are on a path of high expectations we are being motivated and driven by the feelings they produce. As discussed earlier, while we are in an ascending expectations cycle, our overall expectations are low which means we look for the negative over the positive. This perception leads us to be surprised by the positives. There are many words to describe this feeling a person experiences in the beginning of building high expectations such as reluctant, hesitant, cautious, tentative or doubtful. The higher we ascend in expectations the more intense our feeling become. Some words that describe this more intense feelings are euphoric, exhilarated, excited, ecstatic or blissful. Our feelings turn from reluctance to acceptance of our situation.

As expectations build in a person, so does their confidence. Higher and higher a person climbs in exceeding expectations, the more confident they are in their decisions and therefore they will be more hopeful as they begin to miss expectations.

When high expectations peak then opposite feelings will start to develop. As discussed earlier, when we begin a descending expectations cycle we have high expectations and will focus on the positive over the negative. This perception leads us to be surprised by the negatives. These feeling can be described as; hopeful, encouraged, positive, optimistic or expectant. Our feelings of high expectations are a normal response to our hopeful nature. High expectations are signaled by a feeling of hope gradually turning to despair. The lower our expectations go the more intense the feelings become. Some words to describe these growing feelings of lowering expectations are cynical, depressed, disheartened, discouraged and unhappy.

The lowering of a person’s expectations typically takes less time than the building of them. The process of lowering expectations eventually leads us to feel reluctant. As a person’s expectations are lowered so are their confidence and self-assurance. When their expectations hit bottom, the process will repeat by building expectations all over again.

This cycle of expectations can exist in multiple stages with different expectations a person is dealing with. As in a previous example the person born into a religious law enforcement family, may be content with religion but discouraged with their law enforcement career path. When a person’s expectations cycles are coordinated their lows could be lower than normal and vice versa with their highs.

The expectations cycles exist in every person. There is a hierarchy among expectations. We prioritize what expectations are more important to us than others. Whether it is our career or relationships, we are unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. This hierarchy does change, but the intensity of the feelings that accompany each cycle does not.

3.3 Expectations Rollercoaster

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