I’ve got two quotes for you today from writer Anne Lamott. Though the first is quite short, it may take a minute to process:
“Expectations are resentments under construction.”
I hold that up, turn it slowly around and look from all angles, and I think, it’s entirely possible. I know, for instance, that in past years I’ve had more than one birthday that couldn’t really be considered a happy one for me, largely because I let some expectations creep in, like that my children would be especially pleasant to me all day, for instance. What are the odds of that, realistically?
I’ve also heard it said that the secret to a happy marriage is low expectations. If contentment is largely a function of a close match between what you expect and what you get, and if controlling what you get is a highly tenuous proposition, then your best course is to make sure that your expectations don’t get out of hand.
I imagine some will argue that high expectations are indispensable for those seeking high achievement. Perhaps a key factor is the object of the expectations, with resentments developing chiefly in situations where the expectations are had of other people whose behavior we cannot control. Having expectations of ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll comply, but if we don’t, we have only ourselves to be vexed with.
I think I’ve used all my quote-analyzing energy on the first quote, so the second one I’ll just set here, and we can enjoy it unadorned.
“I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We’re here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don’t have time to carry grudges; you don’t have time to cling to the need to be right.”