Accept versus expect

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Accept versus expect

IN any relationship, personal or professional, we tend to have expectations from the other party. Family relationships are no exception. For example, we expect our spouse to do certain things. We want our children to behave in a certain way. When the expectations are not delivered, we get angry and frustrated.

Does that sound familiar? Imagine how peaceful our lives would be if we had very little expectations. Having too many can lead to frustrations. William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” How true!

While it’s good to have high standards, it’s also important to have high tolerance. This is especially true when dealing with the family. Kids will always be kids. Often, our expectations are not their target. To make it worse, parents often have a low tolerance level. One small mistake can trigger a huge uproar. It’s a clear formula for disaster.

So, what can we do to reverse the situation? Is there any formula that we can use to bring back harmony at home? There is. Just lower the expectation and increase the acceptance level.


Of course, it’s not realistic or healthy to have completely zero expectation, but then again, having too much of it is a sure-fire way to be frustrated with everything and everyone. Many parents have this “perfectionist mindset” which could be the source of our stress. Some seem to enjoy the workplace more because everything seems to function like clockwork.

But running a family is different. Kids will always be kids, and they just want to play without much care in the world. We should learn to lower our expectations to a more reasonable level while at the same time trying to engage the family more. Spend more time to communicate and convey our expectations in a more empowering manner.

Be prepared to accept less-than-perfect results. Stop taking over their tasks and responsibilities even if our standard isn’t met. Instead, spend the energy to coach them on how to do it right in a more loving manner. Let’s stop blaming our spouse and family for failing to make us happy. The lower our expectations, the more resilient we will become.

That doesn’t mean we don’t care about our standard anymore. What it means is that we learn to rely on ourselves to be happy. Stop blaming others when things don’t go our way. Stop getting too frustrated when we don’t get what we want.

Remind ourselves that running a family isn’t simply about getting the job done. There are emotions involved and that will complicate matters. If we can let go of unreasonable expectations and take one day at a time, we will magically find that home really is a happy place — and where our heart wants to be.

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