“Expectations are premeditated resentment”



I love this quote. When I find myself mired in the quicksand of disappointment or if I’m picking up pieces of a shattered dream that’s been so utterly broken and dashed to the ground, I summon to mind this nugget of wisdom and really savor it. I don’t want to give the wrong impression, however. My life has been privileged in many ways with more blessings than I could count. I’m not trying to garner sympathy or peddle some sob story about how hard my life has been. Far from it! Like everyone, I’ve experienced disappointment in the form of unmet expectations.


Expectations seem so normal and natural, not dangerous like the above-mentioned quote would have us believe. Initially, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of modifying my expectations or dispensing with them altogether. Only when I cast a critical eye on my own expectations did I see the wisdom of this quote and how it really serves as a signpost forewarning us of the direst ills we’ll have to contend with if we’re not vigilant about monitoring our expectations. For example, lately I’ve been feeling pretty rotten about the current state of my life. I’m simply not where I expected to be at my age. Women my age are more independent, more fiscally responsible, less emotionally driven and much less afraid than I am. Eventually, I began to buckle under the weight of these expectations because my heart can’t bear up against that kind of pressure. I just hated that loathsome feeling of inadequacy that haunted me. Like a rabid dog it pursued me, nipping at my heels. How is this going to help me change? I started to see that expectations could be a hindrance to very growth you want to see. Wanting to be better isn’t the problem. It’s the unforgiving, judgmental inner critic who tears you apart for not measuring up. It stamps out any motivation for me to try because it seems that the moving target will always be out of reach.


“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8


This scripture provides the answer and resonates deeply with me. It speaks of a love that isn’t predicated on a flawless performance or glowing achievements. It’s unconditional. My heart is always stirred by this passage because I’m reminded of the imperfect way I love people. “Clean up your act and get it together first, then maybe I’ll give you my whole heart.” Oftentimes that’s my thinking, and it sure doesn’t leave much room for anyone to make mistakes and still be loved, including myself. Expectations are premeditated resentment because they can subject others to a hardline appraisal that prevents you from truly loving that person in the moment. Right now. “I love you even though you let me down.” That cuts to the heart and inspires me grow and change so I can love that person better, but the haughty eyes of someone whose test I’ve failed only make me want to run away and hide. With those words, I’m released from condemnation and compelled by the right reasons, reasons that will sustain for lasting change. I’m infinitely grateful for that freedom and the peace that comes with them.

Published by Alex Fleit