“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.” — Brandon Sanderson.
We fight different world beliefs every day. They are coming from our family, friends or random acquaintances. We deemed them to be important. After all, that is one of our filter mechanisms to sort through the abundance of people surrounding us. We judge and connect through them.
In reality, the world in global cannot care less about our beliefs. It doesn’t conform to individual ideas. Ultimately, when it doesn’t go as you imagined it to be, you get angry, sometimes even aggressive!
We can see a mild example of this in everyday traffic. When someone cuts you or doesn’t let you go, tensions can build up fast. Yelling, screaming or passive-aggressive gesticulations are usually the follow-up. All of this can leave you feeling worked up and stressed out.
Anger arises from certain rational beliefs about the world. It is not an irrational outburst. We can have control over it! Our satisfaction and overall happiness depends on steering our expectations towards the reality of the situation.
What to do about it? How not to be angry when things don’t go your way?
There are 3 general ways to curb one’s expectations. Honestly, there are many more than three. But, let’s focus on these ones for now.
1. Be honest with yourself.
The elephant in the room. This one is hard. We all create illusions about ourselves. It is just the way we are. Ilussions act like a defense mechanism. They are needed to support other beliefs we have. But, by stopping for a second and asking oneself; Am I really the person I think I am? This question can lead you to profound realizations. By knowing yourself more, you know what to expect from yourself. Thus, you won’t be as angry when things don’t go your way. You will have more control over yourself to make the best of the situation you find yourself in. Over time you’ll start being able to rely more on yourself.
2. Stop worrying about the things you can’t control.
By stressing about the things that are far out of our reach we can only create turmoil for ourselves. We don’t have control over a massive amount of stuff that happens around us. We can’t always change how others feel or what they want. We won’t get the replay to all of our text messages. We certainly can’t prevent a natural disaster. If we focus our energy on the things we can control, we are bound to be more efficient. Overall, our satisfaction levels are going to increase when we stop stressing about things that are out of our reach.
3. Learn to accept, rather than to expect.
We can’t predict everything, every day. Neither can we expect the world to dance according to our ideas? Why get frustrated when things don’t go according to your beliefs? That is certainly going to happen. Why can’t we just try to accept the honest reality? I messed up. You messed up. Our server at the restaurant may have messed up our order. Why get emotional over it? It can only damage your well-being. By you getting angry, you are going to damage yourself the most.
This article was not put up to say that you should not get angry. Anger is sometimes a sign of common sense. If we don’t like the current political situation, we should go out and vote in the next elections. Anger is an emotion like other emotions. It is normal to feel it sometimes. It just should not limit or ruin our overall satisfaction with life. Why be angry all the time? Who wants that?