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Expectations: Realistic vs unrealistic

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Expectations are an integral part of our recovery life. Unrealistic expectations can be insidious and sometimes we aren't even aware we have them. Unrealistic expectations can lead us to feel anger, resentment or even relapse. We will share a few examples of realistic vs unrealistic expectations to help gain awareness and feel serene. There are also many grey areas of expectations and some of those will be explored in a future article.

  • It is realistic to expect a paycheck after performing your work duties for the assigned time. It is unrealistic to expect to win a million dollars playing a slot machine.
  • It is realistic to expect your cat to use the litter box. That's why you bought it. It is unrealistic to expect the cat to use the litter box every single time. No one is perfect.
  • It is realistic to expect that if you live your recovery program, you will not drink or use today. It is unrealistic to expect that every addict is going to do that.
  • It is realistic to expect your bus to arrive reasonably on time. It is unrealistic to expect the ride to be an efficient, pleasurable experience.
  • It is realistic to expect the seasons to change. It is not realistic to expect them change when you want them to.
  • It is realistic to expect your partner to be faithful if that is what she/he has promised. It is unrealistic to expect that you can force that behavior.
  • It is realistic to expect that random acts of kindness are the right thing to do. It is unrealistic to expect that people will respond with equal kindness.
  • It is realistic to expect that if you eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, you will lose weight and feel better. It is not realistic to expect this to happen overnight.
  • It is realistic to expect to feel sexual attraction toward certain people. It is not realistic to expect them to feel the same way.
  • It is realistic to expect that the Higher Power of your understanding will help you with what you cannot do for yourself. It is unrealistic to expect HP to do for you what you can.

You may have noticed that an undercurrent of selfishness runs through the unrealistic expectations. Things are not going our way or we are not getting what we want. Identification and awareness lead to change and serenity. Realistic expectations are necessary for life in general, to prevent total chaos. And ironically, unrealistic expectations can cause internal total chaos.

Peace

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